At least 189 decomposing bodies have been removed from a Colorado funeral home, far more than initial reports suggested when the story broke earlier this month, according to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
Back to Nature Funeral Home in Colorado Springs, Colorado, offers environmentally friendly burials, but is under investigation after more than 115 human remains were found to be improperly stored on the property, according to a report from the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office from earlier this month. .
Officers responding to the suspicious incident found approximately 115 decomposing bodies stored in an approximately 2,500-square-foot space. Officials said the bodies were in such bad condition that they needed to be identified through DNA.
However, a report released Tuesday by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation on behalf of Fremont County Sheriff Alan Cooper and Fremont County Coroner Randy Keller confirmed the body count was higher than first thought.
“On October 13, 2023, all the dead have been removed since returning to Natural Funeral Home in Penrose. “The effort was coordinated by the Fremont County Coroner’s Office with support from multiple agencies,” the CBI said. “Teams removed at least 189 people and transported them to the El Paso County Coroner’s Office. The total number of dead is subject to change as the identification and investigation process continues.
Families will be notified once the bodies are identified, but DNA testing could take months, according to local officials.
“The part of the funeral home where the bodies were stored improperly without providing more details to avoid further suffering for these families is appalling,” Cooper said earlier this month.
The scene was so bad when officers first arrived that a paramedic who responded developed a rash and had to be medically evaluated, Cooper said.
“In addition to focusing on identifying the dead, we are conducting extensive coordination efforts to ensure accurate information is provided to prevent further victimization as families continue to mourn their loved ones,” said Fremont County Coroner Randy Keller.
Officials have not released what the funeral home does with the human remains, but they are contacting the Fremont County Coroner’s Office, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, the Colorado Department of Corrections, the Colorado Department of Public Health and the DMK. In this case, the FBI
“Green burial is a natural way to care for your loved one with minimal environmental impact. Green burial is free of harsh embalming chemicals, metal, plastic or unnatural materials to conserve natural resources, reduce carbon emissions and preserve habitat,” says the website for the funeral home. “You can still see your unembalmed loved one. Embalming is not a law. The state of Colorado requires that the body be embalmed within 24 hours or placed in a regulated temperature-controlled environment, such as refrigeration, dry ice, etc. .”
Officials said that the second phase of investigation will be started on Tuesday.
“The second phase of this elaborate process involves verifying identity and completing family declarations,” the CBI said. “Family notifications will be conducted by a team led by the Fremont County Coroner’s Office, victim advocates and others, which are expected to begin in the next few days.”
There is currently no timeline for the completion of the investigation.
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