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Former funeral home owner accused of keeping woman’s body in hearse for two years | US News

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A financially troubled former funeral home owner has been accused of keeping a woman’s body in a hearse for two years at a house where the cremated remains of at least 30 other people were discovered, according to police.

Officers in the US state of Colorado have issued an arrest warrant for 33-year-old Miles Harford following the grim discovery at a property in the Denver suburb of Littleton earlier this month.

Police said Mr Harford had experienced “financial trouble” in his funeral business and at times was unable to complete cremations to provide remains to their families.

Denver Police Department Major Crimes Division Commander Matt Clark said officers believed that, on occasion, Mr Harford might have provided family members with another person’s ashes instead of the ashes of their loved ones.

Denver Police Department Major Crimes Division Commander Matt Clark, left, and Denver District Attorney Beth McCann answer questions from reporters during a news conference at the Denver Police Crime Lab in Denver, Friday, February 16, 2024. (Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post via AP)
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Denver Police Department Major Crimes Division Commander Matt Clark speaks at a press conference. Pic: AP

Mr Clark said temporary urns – plastic boxes the size of a shoe box – were also found following a court-ordered eviction of the property, which was rented by Mr Harford.

Other urns were found in a moving truck parked outside and in a hearse, where the body of a woman was found, covered in blankets.

Mr Harford, who has been in contact with officers remotely and is said to be cooperating with the investigation, said the woman had died in August 2022.

According to police, he said the cremated remains recovered from the house appeared to be associated with individuals who passed away between 2012 and 2021.

The residence where a former funeral home owner kept a deceased women's body in a hearse for two years as well as the remains of 30 cremated people is shown Friday, Feb. 16, 2024, in southwest Denver. The discovery occurred on Feb. 6 during a court-ordered eviction of the home rented by 33-year-old Miles Harford, who authorities have issued an arrest warrant for. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
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Pic: AP

Authorities issued an arrest warrant for Mr Harford on Friday, and police are said to be “working to facilitate his arrest”.

He is expected to be charged with abuse of a corpse, forgery of the death certificate and theft of the money paid for the cremation, though other charges could be added, according to Denver District Attorney Beth McCann.

Mr Harford did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment from the Associated Press.

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His business, Apollo Funeral and Cremation Services, was licensed from March 2012 through to May 2022.

The discovery is the latest in a string of horrific cases involving funeral home operators in Colorado, which has some of the weakest oversight of the funeral industry in the US.

The state has no routine inspections of funeral homes or qualification requirements for operators.

A married couple is awaiting trial in Colorado Springs following their arrest last year for allegedly abandoning
almost 200 bodies over several years inside a bug-infested facility and giving fake ashes to family members.

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