Man apologizes after 5-year-old’s grave marker repossessed in North Carolina

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WATE/WCMH) — After a North Carolina family was outraged about a grave marker for their 5-year-old son being repossessed, the monument company owner is making things right.

It’s almost been a year since Wayne and Crystal Leatherman had to bury their 5-year-old son, Jake, after he died from leukemia.

But when Crystal recently went to visit Jake’s grave, she discovered his marker was gone.

“He repossessed it, like it was a car,” Crystal said about the owner of the monument company who repossessed the marker.

The owner, J.C. Shoaf, said the couple did pay for the marker in full at the beginning, but they made changes that added to the cost of the stone.

“It was my first time in 56 years, I’ve had this problem,” said Shoaf.

However, the Leathermans say they were never told of the increase in cost.

“If I would have owed him the money I would have paid him. This is not something you argue over,” said Wayne.

Shoaf issued an apology, according to WBTV, saying “”We’d like very much so to return the grave marker back to Woodlawn Cemetery and give our appreciation to the media for helping us get this resolved, that the family would not owe us anything, we will mark their bill paid in full. We waive all expenses from the Leatherman family. If there are any charges to be paid to the cemetery to have this reinstalled, we will pay all expenses for doing that, and we’re sorry this has happened.”

He continued, “In hindsight, it was a big mistake to have the cemetery remove it, we see it now, but we do offer the family our condolence, and forgiveness… we hope they forgive us. It has hurt everybody involved, and we hope they have it in their heart to forgive us for it. Our prayers are with the family, and we hope we can be friends down the road.”

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