The following article, Disturbing Discovery Made at Eco-Friendly Funeral Home, Police Refuse to Disclose What Was Happening to Bodies, was first published on Flag And Cross.
This story may be another example of the “cure” being much worse than the sickness.
The funeral home performs funerals without chemicals, metal or unnatural materials.
“Just you and the Earth, returning to nature,” the website says.
“Interment of the bodies is done in a biodegradable casket, basket, shroud, or even nothing at all. No embalming fluid, no concrete vaults. As natural as possible,” the website continues.
The cost of the funeral, not including the cost of the casket and cemetery space, is $1,895 for a “natural burial.
It’s not entirely clear what that hefty price tag does include then, because on Friday, police say they found 115 improperly stored bodies at the home after residents reported a “foul stench,” according to the Associated Press.
Allen Cooper, Fremont County Sheriff, did not want to go into too much detail about what they saw inside the 2,500-square-foot facility “to avoid further victimizing the families” of the deceased but described the air of the funeral home where the bodies were stored as “horrific.”
The Sheriff said that after the scene was made safe and “appropriate personal protective equipment is issued,” their priority would be the “dignified” treatment of the deceased.
Police said Friday they found at least 115 bodies at the Return to Nature Funeral Home in Penrose, Colorado.
The mortuary, which provides “green” burials without embalming chemicals or metal caskets, is under investigation for handling remains improperly. pic.twitter.com/Bs4IbGVjVu
— The Associated Press (@AP) October 6, 2023
Joyce Pavetti, a 73-year-old local, told the AP that she had been catching whiffs of the putrid air for some weeks but assumed it was a dead animal.
Another resident said it smelled like a septic tank.
According to CNN, Fremont County Coroner Randy Keller said the investigation would likely be a “very, very, lengthy process” that could drag on for months.
Additionally, the remains will have to undergo forensic identification, including fingerprinting and DNA testing, the AP noted.
FBI spokeswoman Vikki Migoya told the AP it is not clear if a crime has been committed and that it was being investigated.
On Friday afternoon, the AP updated the bizarre story writing that the owner had earlier tried to conceal the source of the “abhorrent smell,” telling state regulators who had launched an investigation earlier this week he had been doing “taxidermy.”
According to the AP, while green burials are legal in Colorado, regulations dictate that bodies not buried within 24 hours must be properly refrigerated.
Given the small community’s size, just 3000 residents, discovering 115 bodies in a facility comparable to a standard home is highly unusual. The need for DNA testing indicates a lack of proper tagging, adding to the troubling aspects of this situation.
Many questions persist, and the impact of the unclean conditions on the residents’ health, who were exposed to this hazard for weeks, is uncertain.
That’s to say nothing of the pain caused to the next of kin of the bodies so haphazardly kept in the home.
A sad and macabre reminder that, sometimes, the obsessive focus on eco-friendly alternatives can lead to disgusting outcomes — and that traditional rituals are a tradition for a reason.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.