Fremont County: Return to Nature Funeral Home Update

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This news release is being sent out on behalf of Fremont County Sheriff Allen Cooper and Fremont County Coroner Randy Keller.

October 17, 2023 – Fremont County, CO – “While the investigation for this incident continues, we also remain focused on the impacted families,” said Fremont County Sheriff Allen Cooper. “We want to do all we can to provide the families the support they need as we shift to the next phase in this process.”

On October 13, 2023, all decedents were removed from the Return to Nature Funeral Home in Penrose. The effort was coordinated by the Fremont County Coroner’s Office with support from several entities. Teams removed at least 189 individuals and transported them to the El Paso County Coroner's Office. The total number of decedents could change as the identification and investigative processes continue.

The second phase of this comprehensive process includes confirming identification and completing family notifications. Family notifications will be conducted by a team led by the Fremont County Coroner’s Office, victim advocates and others and this is expected to begin in the next several days. There is currently no timeline for completion.

“We are conducting extensive coordination efforts as we focus on the identification of the decedents and provide notifications to ensure the families are given accurate information to prevent further victimization as they continue to grieve their loved ones,” said Fremont County Coroner Randy Keller.

Families who have not already done so are asked to go to and complete the questionnaire to assist in this process.

If you believe you or your loved one might have been impacted and you have further questions, please send an email to This is the most effective way to connect with resources; a person will respond to all emails from family members.

If you do not have access to email, Fremont County continues to operate a telephone hotline for families at 719-276-7421.

The investigation continues with no new updates to date. There are no press conferences planned at this time.