Woman orders with Chattanooga company three weeks before NC9 investigation

This is what Joy Burroughs' headstone was supposed to look like. Her family paid more than $2,000 for it from Wichman Monuments. (Image WTVC)

It's still hard for Tammy Burroughs and her son to walk up to the grave.

"When I come up, its just dirt."

Burroughs's mother, Joy, is buried at the Hamilton Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Hixson. She died at 71 this past January. Burroughs had a gravestone designed by Wichman Monuments.

"We customized it," she said. "Had a hummingbird on it because she loved hummingbirds."

Burroughs said she paid Wichman in full for the monument on February 7th, a little less than a month after her mother passed. She says the owner, Trent Wichman, designed the stone and said it would take a few weeks to deliver. Then, she saw NewsChannel 9's report about 3 weeks later.

"I turned on the news and I immediately went to my knees crying," she said. "I knew then I would never get my moms stone."

In earlier stories about the company, people told NewsChannel 9 Wichman monuments stopped answering calls around February. Burroughs said that sale with Wichman hurt twice as bad.

"My dads sister died in November," she explained. "We went to them in November and we ordered my aunts stone from them." She said they never got that stone, but her family enjoyed doing business with Trent Wichman so much, and at the time the business had a high Better Business Bureau rating, they approached him a second time for a headstone.

"We heard it was a family owned business and its been in business for what 72 years," Burroughs said. She says her family paid more than $3,000 for both monuments.

"I don't think I'll ever have my mom's stone from this company. I don't think I'll ever see it. I don't think I'll ever see the money."

The BBB and the Chattanooga police department continue to investigate the business. A lawyer for Trent Wichman announced last Friday that the business was shutting down for good.

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