5 On Your Side

Man waits months for grandson's headstone from Durham company

Posted January 19, 2010 5:20 p.m. EST
Updated February 25, 2010 4:05 p.m. EST

 A laminated photo taped to a wooden stick serves as a makeshift grave marker for Alex Bryant.

— A laminated photo taped to a wooden stick serves as a makeshift grave marker in the middle of a Garner cemetery.

“I guess that's the next best thing cause you know without the picture, you wouldn't be able to find him,” Roy Bryant said.

The marker is for Bryant’s 18-year-old grandson, Alex, who was also known as “Little Roy.” Bryant said the two were inseparable.

Last June, Alex died in a car crash.

“I think about him every day,” Bryant said. “We were just together all the time. He was like my son, instead of my grandson. Yeah, I miss him a lot.”

And looking at Alex’s grave only makes the hurt that much worse, Bryant said.

“When people come out, family members come out, some people even say, ‘If you don't have the money to do it, we'll help you,’” Bryant said. “And you know, it's kind of embarrassing.”

Especially since Bryant paid a $975 deposit to J&P Memorials of Durham more than four months ago. The headstone was supposed to be installed within six-to-eight weeks. Bryant said he's heard nothing but excuses from owner Joseph Parker.

“Every time I call its, ‘Can I call you back?’ or ‘I’ll get back with you later today,’ or ‘The company that’s manufacturing the plates moved to Atlanta,’” Bryant said. “It’s just one excuse after the other.”

So Bryant called 5 on Your Side for help. Bryant is one of five people who have complained to WRAL about problems getting headstones they ordered from Parker.

The company has an "F" rating from the Better Business Bureau.

Five on Your Side stopped by to see Parker. He said perhaps he took on more than he should have.

“We just got backed up and I apologize. And we'll get ‘em corrected. Get the situation corrected,” he said.

Parker promised he would have Alex’s headstone by the end of the month.

Bryant said he just wants to honor his grandson with the headstone he paid for.

“I feel like I'm cheating him you know, ‘cause he don't have a marker. I mean I know he's dead, but I just feel like I'm cheating him,” Bryant said.