'He repossessed it like it was a car:' Boy's grave marker removed over payment dispute

HICKORY, N.C. -- A North Carolina couple is reeling after their 5-year-old son's grave marker was repossessed by the manufacturer, WBTV reports.

Crystal Leatherman's son Jake passed away from leukemia nearly a year ago. When she recently went to visit her son's grave, she discovered the monument was gone.

“He repossessed it like it was a car,” Leatherman said.

Company owner JC Shoaf said 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.

Shoaf said he feels for the family but will continue to stand his ground.

“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.

The heartbroken couple claims they were never told about any additional fees and are looking at using another company to help provide a grave marker.