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Return to Nature Funeral Home: The Heartache of Never Knowing

Return to Nature Funeral Home

Return to Nature

Many may know about the funeral home in Colorado that stacked up bodies inside one of their establishments in Fremont County Colorado. That funeral home’s home base location was located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. If you have not heard of this horrible place, here is one of many articles that can be found through a google search.

When my wife passed away, I knew of Return to Nature funeral home because a close friend had used the same place. So, I contacted them to make arrangements for my wife. I only spoke with Carie Hallford throughout the process. She was very kind over the phone and appeared sympathetic and gentle.

After they picked my wife’s body up from the El Paso County Coroner’s Office, I then just needed to wait for the cremation process and to pick up her ashes, which Carie was organizing. My first question after they received her body was if I could see my wife one last time.

Carie explained to me that she highly did not recommend seeing her due to the condition of her body and I just remember breaking down and crying harder than I could ever imagine. At the time, I just wanted one last goodbye, but being denied that chance because of her condition was understandable.

I did receive a bag of the items that were on Nicole’s body. Her earrings, her nose ring, her necklace, wedding rings, watch, and DL.; all of which had her blood on them. I asked about Nicole’s clothes as well, and Carie said that they were destroyed. My wife had just killed herself, and I was just trying to figure out how to get closure during the worst time of my life.

I received a phone call from Carie a day or two later and she was in a semi panic saying that my mother-in-law contacted them to request seeing her body. Carie had called me to again explain that from their experience, seeing Nicole’s condition would be more harmful and convinced me to talk my MIL out of it. So I did. And I regret it now.

I emailed Carie soon after and asked when she would be cremated because the funeral service was that weekend. She replied that she didn’t know and that it was “maybe” the next day. Because I couldn’t see her body and I had asked if letters from family and friends could be cremated with her and she said I could drop them off the next morning.

I wrote my letter forgiving my wife what for all the things. I know she struggled and I just wish I could have been able to do more. But her demons were too deep. There are a lot of things that I got off my chest in that letter and I doubt they were ever cremated with her, if she was in fact cremated.

After picking up has ashes, I did not receive a certificate of cremation, but I also did not know any better. We went through the funeral service with whom I believed to be my wife. And I even spread some of her ashes the next day, her birthday, at the site she took her last breath.

I had done everything that I could to make sure my wife was put to rest after suffering so much. She lived with absolute pain and I just needed to make sure that her final resting process was done properly for her. It helped with the closure process for me and I hoped for the same for her. And now I’ll never know if she was cremated or even where her body is.

In October 2023, that’s when the news broke about the Penrose Funeral Home where approximately 190 bodies were thrown to decay, owned and operated by two of the worst people on this planet, Jon and Carie Hallford. I thought well, I worked with the Colorado Springs location, but both were operated by them because they were the only one’s running it. Come to find out, they were transferring bodies from the Colorado Springs location and dumping them in there.

I have been working with the authorities to hopefully get some answers. I sent them my wife’s dental information and every detail that I could provide to help identify her, and I have yet to receive any confirmation of actual cremation or identification of her body found somewhere. My heart absolutely weeps for her.

I’m currently left with the unknown. I have been hoping that I’d receive a call that they recovered her body so that I could get her cremated and know 100% that she’s at rest. And I don’t know what I’m going to do if I never receive a call. I could just accept that the ashes that I have are absolutely her, but there will always be a little piece of me that doesn’t believe that. Especially considering the odd conversations that I had with Carie, to include her absolutely campaigning to keep us from seeing her body.

I feel sick to my stomach when I think about it that her body was thrown into a disgusting building, like trash, to rot. None of those people deserved that and the families that are sharing this pain don’t deserve any of this.

I’m still hopeful, at the time of writing this, that I hear from the authorities that she is found. But if I don’t, I’ll never know truly what happened to her. I’ll never know if things were done properly and I’ll never know if the ashes that I have are truly my wife.