Contact 2: Delayed Headstone For Grave

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- A St. Louis family wants to know why they`ve had to wait months  after ordering a headstone for a deceased loved one. They don`t understand what`s taking so long.  After all, it`s been a year since the headstone was ordered.  What`s worse, it`s never been made.

When David Coller lost his son, David Johnson, he never expected he`d be walking to an unmarked grave 14 months later. Coller says, "It`s hard, and they ain`t making it no better."

David's wife Ebony Johnson says she and their 5-year-old daughter miss him and they want his final resting place properly marked.  "They did not give our family the respect that we deserved.  My husband the respect that he deserved.  I feel if my husband had a headstone, that would give some type of closure," she stated.

The family ordered a black marble design in March 2012.  They made a down payment. Then waited six months for Schaefer Monument Co. to make it. But it was never placed.  Ebony called the office.

"He came out and said you know what, we contacted the cemetery and they said we can`t put marble down, in the area your husband is buried in," she said.

Some cemeteries look for consistency.  So Rich Schaefer says he asks relatives to describe the markers nearby. "If the family has no recollection at all then we do contact the cemetery. We don`t call every time. We base a lot of our trust on what we`ve done in the past," he said.

Since the black marble didn't work, the family ordered a bronze plated headstone in January 2013.  They were told it would be ready in 6 months.   It was never made according to Schaefer. "We didn`t push on it.  That`s our fault within."

During our interview Schaefer told me it would be ready by August.  But this week he told the family the picture they submitted for placement on the headstone is missing.  So he's not sure when it will be ready.
David`s mom Barbara Coller is upset.  "It makes me angry, very angry that we can`t get any resolution from them," she said.

We`ll be checking back with Schaefer monument on the building and placement of the headstone.   All consumers should be proactive when making arrangements for a deceased loved one.  Make it your business to know what the cemetery requires for headstone design.   Don`t leave it to the monument company.   Call us with your consumer issues.  Our toll free number is 800. 782-2222.  The lines are open Monday through Friday from 11am till 1pm.

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