NORTH CAROLINA FAMILY TRAUMATIZED, ENRAGED TO FIND GAPING HOLE OVER SON’S GRAVE, GRAVE STONE REPOSSESSED
It’s beginning to look a lot like a Grinch Christmas. A family in North Carolina still weathering the tragedy of their young son’s death is now left in emotional shock after visiting his gravesite. Crystal Leatherman and her husband, Wayne, were devastated to find a gaping hole in the ground above their son’s gravesite where the marker had been. It turns out that the manufacturer claims they owe money on the marker, so he repossessed the stone on their son Jake’s grave, leaving the family to make the discovery and revisit their loss all over again.
5-YEAR-OLD SON JAKE DIED LAST YEAR FROM RARE LEUKEMIA, THE TRAGEDY STILL FELT BY FAMILY
Can you imagine how devastating this would be to find, and how traumatic for parents to feel? Jake had fought a rare childhood cancer called juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia from the age of three for two years when he passed away at the age of five. The Leathermans say the debt on the marker was paid shortly after they buried their son last year, but the manufacturer, JC Shoaf, claims they owe more and took action. “He repossessed it, like it was a car,” Crystal told WBTV.
MOTHER HORRIFIED TO DISCOVER STONE GONE WITHOUT WARNING WHEN VISITING SON’S GRAVE
Crystal recounted how she only found out about the marker when she recently visited her son’s grave and it was simply gone. “This is my lowest point,” mother Crystal told WBTV. “He doesn’t care.” The Leathermans are planning to hire an attorney to represent their case. JC Shoaf claims that while the couple did in fact pay in full for the child’s stone, they had made several modifications which increased the charge.
HEARTLESS VENDOR CLAIMS UNPAID DEBT OVER “EXTRA” FEATURES ON STONE
According to the Grinch, “If you buy something, you’ve got to pay for it. No matter what it is,” Shoaf told the station. Yet Crystal and her husband Wayne, who also have a 10-year-old daughter, were adamant they were never informed about an extra charge for the grave stone. “If I would have owed him the money I would have paid him,” Crystal said. “This is not something you argue over.” Most would argue that Shoaf’s actions are not the way to communicate either.
ALSO SAYS HE PLACED NOT FULLY PAID STONE OUT OF EMPATHY, FAMILY KNOWS NOTHING OF DEBT
Shoaf tried to put a positive spin on is humanity when he told WBTV that he had placed the stone without a full payment because the family “had been through so much emotionally.” And then repossessed it…
MANY RACING STARS ATTENDED JAKE’S FUNERAL WITH FAMILIES AND CREW
Matt DiBenedetto, a professional driver whose hometown is Hickory and his driving teammate Ryan Ellis showed up to the funeral home for Jake dressed in their gear, as did driver JJ Yeley. The crew chief for Tony Stewart’s car was also there as well as a few crew members from Danica Patrick’s team.
Shoaf also claimed that the issue is about paying his employees, but he does feel for the family.
“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,” Shoaf said. Does anyone think this guy needs a publicist?
Shoaf also said that he wants to resolve things with the family – but he also wants his money in full.
But now the Leatherman family say they are looking to use another vendor for a permanent marker at their son’s grave. Who can blame them? Would anyone want the energy of someone like Shoaf on a loved one’s gravesite?
Jake had loved NASCAR and the #43 car was his favorite. “Richard Petty is ‘The King” he always said,” according to his mother Crystal.
During Jake’s funeral, more than 60 people from the NASCAR world – including drivers, their families and their pit crew members – showed up to Jake’s funeral in their racing uniforms.
It’s a sad state of affairs when someone like Shoaf holds the memory of a beloved son using his grave site hostage for more money. All without talking to the family first.
Beware the Grinch this year!