Child’s repossessed grave marker returned

(WCNC) A memorial manufacturer has replaced the grave marker for a 5-year-old who died of cancer after first removing it from his grave, claiming his parents didn’t pay the full bill.

After trying but failing to reach the parents, Reverend J.C. Shoaf, who owns the monument company, told the cemetery to collect the marker. Since then, he says his company’s been harassed with threatening phone calls.

READ MORE: Monument company apologizes, pays expenses after child’s grave marker repossessed

“I would never pick that thing up, not at all, I would mark the debt in full and forget it,” said Shoaf.

Before ultimately deciding to forget the debt, viewers from across the country offered to help the family pay for the marker.

Jake Leatherman lost his battle with leukemia in the fall of 2016. When his parents recently went to visit his grave in a Hickory cemetery, they discovered the marker was missing.

Shoaf now says he wishes he had never taken back the grave marker. The story of his decision has gone national, and most of the feedback has not been positive. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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