A grieving couple has experienced their second heartbreak after a pastor repossessed their 5-year-old son's grave.

Jake Leatherman died on November 1, 2016, after a battle with leukaemia and his mother Crystal Leatherman bought a grave marker adorned with his face at Woodlawn Memorial Garden in the US.

But when Leatherman recently went to visit her son's grave the stone was gone and replaced with a dirt hole.

"He repossessed it, like it was a car," she told WBTV.

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Crystal Letherman went to visit her son's grave only to find a pile of dirt upon her arrival. Photo / WBTV
Crystal Letherman went to visit her son's grave only to find a pile of dirt upon her arrival. Photo / WBTV

The manufacturer of the monument, Reverend J.C Shoaf, said the family did not pay the full costs for the stone and changes wanted on the stone.

He said he received payment for the stone but that changes requested by the family added up to an additional US$2500 ($3488).

"If you buy something, you've got to pay for it. No matter what it is," Shoaf, who runs Southeastern Monument company, told WBTV.

After not receiving full payment, he removed the stone "as leverage".

Ms Leatherman and her husband Wayne claim they were not aware of any increasing charges. Photo / WBTV
Ms Leatherman and her husband Wayne claim they were not aware of any increasing charges. Photo / WBTV

Shoaf explained he went ahead with the gravestone despite not receiving full payment as a mark of goodwill.

"Because they had been through so much emotionally, grieving so hard, I thought we'd just go ahead and do it."

However, Leatherman explained the family was never made aware of any additional costs but if they had they would have paid the full amount.

"If I would have owed him the money I would have paid him," Leatherman told WBTV. "This is not something you argue over."

Jake Leatherman passed away on November 1, 2016 after battling leukaemia. Photo / Team Jake / Facebook
Jake Leatherman passed away on November 1, 2016 after battling leukaemia. Photo / Team Jake / Facebook

Shoaf has since said he regrets removing the gravestone.

"I hated to do it. I'm not heartless and I have had a child die, so I know how it feels. But what was I to do?" the 73-year-old said.

"I thought having [the marker] would give me some leverage. In hindsight, I should have just written it up as a bad debt."

The couple is now looking at using another company to help provide a grave marker -- and are looking into hiring an attorney.