Headstones Missing From Graves

Families Who Paid For Headstones Say Cemetery Didn’t Deliver

A Longmont cemetery is accused of taking money for headstones that never arrived.

The Better Business Bureau said it has received nearly a half dozen complaints this year against Foothills Gardens of Memory.

"It’s just kind of alarming, you don’t normally see these things with cemeteries," said BBB spokeswoman Megan Miller. "Out of all the cemeteries in our data base there are 8 complaints total over the last three years and seven are attributed to this particular company."

Miller said the complaints included headstones that never arrived and headstones that were installed incorrectly resulting in damage.

Bill Dostal filed one of those complaints. He said he’s been waiting since April for his wife’s headstone. For him, it’s about getting closure on a terrible tragedy.

"My wife went through hell. She was kidnapped and murdered in Charlotte, North Carolina," he said.

Dostal’s wife died in 1993. This past April he had her body transferred to Foothills Gardens of Memory.

"To me it was an ideal situation because it was just a beautiful scene out there," said Dostal.

He said he paid of two plots, one for his wife and one for himself. However, his wife’s $1,400 headstone never arrived.

"So all I got out there right now is like a Pauper’s grave to me. My gravesite’s right next to it. I put a stone there with a crucifix and a rose," he said.

The Better Business Bureau said it has tried numerous times to contact the manager of the cemetery, identified as Joy Ann Strachan. Miller said Strachan has not responded.

"When you take a payment for something and you don’t deliver on it that is fraud. What are you doing with the money?" Miller said.

7NEWS went to the cemetery for answers and spoke with Strachan by phone. Strachan couldn’t explain why the headstones had not been delivered, but insisted they were on the way. She said Dostal’s wife’s headstone would be there by Christmas.

"All I want is to finish the deal. I want to close the chapter," Dostal said.

In the meantime, after doing its own investigation, the BBB has given Foothills Gardens of Memory an F-ranking. However, it has no authority to take legal action. Miller said they hope raising awareness of these complaints will prevent others from being victimized.

The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies tells 7NEWS cemeteries are not regulated. Victims are encouraged to contact the attorney general’s office to pursue legal action.