Losing a little child can cause depression and the grieving process will be very hard. A family in Hickory, North Carolina is grieving all over again after they found out that the grave marker of their little child who died in leukemia went missing.
Crystal Leatherman, the boy’s mother, recently went to go pay tribute to his son gravesite but she was horrified by what she found out.
Her child’s gravestone was missing and she felt like she lost him again. What made her more furious is the manufacturer of the marker had ripped it from the cemetery ground because they allegedly missed a payment.
Wayne Leatherman, the child’s father, is in disbelief after discovering the gaping hole left behind when the manufacturer removed their son Jake Leatherman’s grave marker.
“He repossessed it like it was a car,” Crystal told WBTV, referring to the manufacturer, JC Shoaf, who claims that he is owed money. But the family said their debts were paid shortly after they buried their five-year-old son, Jake, last year.
The gravestone company owner JC Shoaf has a different story. He claimed he removed the stone after the couple failed to pay the full amount owed. He says they paid for the stone itself, but never paid for several additional changes. He had told the parents of Jake numerous times that they were late on payments. Because they hadn’t paid for the monument in full, he warned them that he would have to take extreme measures.
He said he had placed the stone in the cemetery because he knows the family has been through a lot “emotionally.” He wanted to be kind and give them some small comfort in the wake of their son’s death. But when they didn’t pay, he was forced to take action. He was a businessman and he needs to hold true to his threats.
Shoaf said he feels for the family but after ignoring his warnings, he was left no choice but replace it.
“They’ve been through an awful lot, I know that. And right now, they’re thinking emotionally, and having that grave out there unmarked – that’s emotional trauma. I lost a child, I know what that is,” he said.
Crystal and her husband, who has a 10-year-old daughter, say they never knew that Shoaf charged extra to mark the stone and are looking at using another company to help provide a grave marker.