PENROSE, Colo. — The FBI aided local authorities late last week in unearthing nearly 200 improperly stored bodies at the Return to Nature Funeral Home in Penrose, sparking a widespread investigation.
According to Fremont County Sheriff’s Office, deputies initially responded to an overpowering foul odor at the premises. With a situation Sheriff Allen Cooper labeled as “horrific,” the FBI’s specialized squads were mobilized, including the Disaster Victim Identification Squad and the Evidence Response Team.
The governor declared a disaster emergency, even mobilizing the Colorado National Guard for support. With hazardous conditions at play, workers, clothed in Class A hazmat suits, could only endure the toxic environment for 40-minute intervals. Following strict protocols, each team member required thorough decontamination after their shift.
“This is our commitment to our partners and our community: We will be with them for as long as it takes to ensure all hazards are mitigated, the conditions of the scene are fully documented, and all human remains are recovered in a dignified manner,” affirmed Mark Michalek, FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge.
Authorities have moved the remains to the El Paso County Coroner’s Office, where advanced techniques like fingerprinting, DNA collection, and dental X-rays are employed to identify the deceased.
To date, no arrests have been made, and the mystery surrounding how the bodies ended up in this condition remains unsolved. The FBI urges affected individuals to refer to the ‘Seeking Victim Information’ questionnaire, ensuring that the core values of supporting crime victims are upheld.