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Funeral home owners where decomposing bodies found returned to Colorado to face charges

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The owners of a defunct Colorado funeral home where 190 sets of decomposing human remains were found have been returned to the state to face hundreds of felony charges.

Carie Hallford appeared in District Court in Colorado Springs via video on Wednesday. District Judge Samorreyan Burney maintained her bail at $2 million cash during the advisement hearing, KRDO-TV reported. Jon Hallford’s advisement hearing was Friday and his bail also remained at $2 million.

Carie Hallford’s public defender had asked for her bail to be reduced to $50,000, citing her lack of a criminal record, but Burney noted she faced more than 250 felony charges. Both Hallfords face 190 counts of abuse of a corpse, over 50 counts of forgery, five counts of theft and four counts of money laundering, federal court records said.

Neither entered a plea. Their next court appearances are set for Dec. 5.

Court records say the Hallfords are both being represented by the public defender’s office, which does not comment on cases to the media.

The case began in early October when the report of an “abhorrent smell” led to the discovery of the bodies at a Return to Nature Funeral Home location in Penrose — about 34 miles (55 kilometers) southwest of Colorado Springs.

After the bodies were removed, officials said there were 190 sets of remains, with some having been there as long as four years. The coroner’s office used fingerprints and medical records to try to identify the bodies, and would use DNA if necessary, officials said.

Family members had been falsely told their loved ones had been cremated and had received materials that were not their ashes, court records said.

The couple was arrested on Nov. 8 at the home of Jon Hallford’s father in Oklahoma, according to a federal arrest warrant alleging they fled the state to avoid prosecution. The federal charge was dropped after their arrests.

Carie Hallford was booked into the El Paso County Jail in Colorado Springs on Tuesday and Jon Hallford was returned to Colorado on Wednesday.

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