A funeral home in the U.S. state of Colorado is under investigation after more than 100 rotting bodies were found at the facility, local authorities said Friday.
The deceased bodies were discovered on Wednesday in the Return to Nature Funeral Home in Penrose, a town in Fremont County. Police took a closer look at the "green" funeral operator's storage facility and found at least 115 decomposing bodies inside.
Fremont County Sheriff Allen Cooper told a news conference that "during the last 48 hours, my office made a very disturbing discovery."
"The area of the funeral home where the bodies were improperly stored was horrific," he said.
"There have been a lot of questions and concerns expressed by the community, especially those families who entrusted their loved ones to this funeral home. Our priority and our focus are on the families," said Cooper, adding that officials are committed to finding answers for the families as quickly as possible.
Fremont County Coroner Randy Keller also said at the conference that "after making entry into the facility, we found over 100 decedents, who were improperly stored and has created a hazardous scene."
A disaster emergency has been declared in the county, which will make more resources available, according to Keller. No arrests have been made so far, but Keller said an investigation is in its early stages and will be a very lengthy process.
Colorado Governor Jared Polis issued an emergency disaster declaration Thursday night to provide "resources from the state to support the investigation and the clean-up of the facility."
Return to Nature Funeral Home described itself on its website as a family-owned and operated mortuary service, and "has operated with three generations of funeral service experience and education."