GREENFIELD — Some Central Indiana families are getting a resolution after waiting more than a year for their loved one’s headstones.
They reached out to WRTV Investigates for help after they say they paid Greenfield Granite for memorials they never received.
Williamina “Ina” Carson of Indianapolis died in Jan. 2019 at the age of 81.
Her family paid Greenfield Granite $2,300 to get Williamina a headstone.
However, the family never received Williamina’s headstone, and it spent more than a year sitting outside Greenfield Granite.
“It’s very disrespectful, it just sitting on the side of the road,” said Elizabeth Knepper, granddaughter of Williamina Carson.
Williamina’s daughter, Sheila Carson, said she ordered the headstone from Greenfield Granite in Aug. 2019, but never received it from the monument company.
“We've missed all of these holidays with her to have somewhere to go and visit and put flowers out,” Carson said.
In Aug. 2020, WRTV Investigates raised questions about Greenfield Granite’s business practices, as more people came forward saying they too were owed headstones or refunds.
On Sept. 8, Greenfield Granite’s owner, Amie Strohl, died by suicide just hours before she was scheduled to appear in a Hancock County small claims court.
Strohl had been under criminal investigation by Greenfield Police for her business practices.
On Sept. 18, the Indiana Attorney General’s office filed a lawsuit accusing Greenfield Granite of taking money from more than a dozen customers and not finishing the work.
In December, the state got a $379,500 judgment against Greenfield Granite.
As part of the court order, the Attorney General’s office was able to seize five headstones and get them to consumers.
“We got on this one as quick as we could, but there was an emotional aspect to it,” said Attorney General Todd Rokita. “It’s very emotional when someone dies, especially when it’s a close family member. Sometimes there are bad business out there."
On Feb. 8, a crew finally arrived at Greenfield Granite to pick up Williamina’s headstone after it had been sitting outside for more than a year.
Williamina’s other daughter, Margaret Scholl, looked on with emotion.
“It's just been a nightmare,” Scholl said. “One obstacle after the other and it's just horrible for anybody to have to go through this."
As the weather improved, on March 3 a crew arrived at Washington Park East Cemetery to place Williamina’s headstone where she’s buried next to other family members.
It’s a moment Sheila Carson and her daughter Elizabeth Knepper have been waiting for since Williamina died in January 2019.
"I actually feel really joyous for a change, just really happy,” Carson said. “I feel like all of her is here now."
Carson credited WRTV Investigates for taking on the story back in August 2020.
“No, I don’t think she would have ever stopped cheating customers,” said Carson.
“It’s very sad and unfortunate that we had to go through all this just to get the headstone,” said Knepper.
Williamina’s family said she would have been frustrated it took this long.
"She didn't have a lot of patience and she wouldn't have tolerated this well,” said Carson.
Williamina’s family now has a place to put flowers and visit with her.
Her headstone is a visual reminder that Williamina was loved and will never be forgotten.
“I feel like her soul was here, but this represents her spirit,” said Carson.
This moment has come at a price.
In addition to more than a year of stress, Carson said the family had to spend another $1,300 to purchase another base and vase to finally put her mother to rest.
They’re keeping receipts and hope to get reimbursed, as the Indiana Attorney General’s office works to collect on the $379,500 judgment against Greenfield Granite and get restitution for consumers.
“We will move aggressively on this,” Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita said. “We will continue to fight. We have a good judgment that we will now pursue.”
Mary Collins never received her husband’s bench from Greenfield Granite, and ended up buying another one just so she could finalize her husband’s gravesite.
"I'm owed $1800 and I will probably never see a dime of it,” said Collins.
Collins came to support Sheila Carson at the cemetery on March 3.
"I am so happy for her and all of her family— it's finally, finally some closure,” said Collins.
No one was ever criminally charged in connection with the company’s business practices.
Amie Strohl’s husband, James Strohl, filed for bankruptcy on Oct. 20.
James Strohl lists his partial ownership of Greenfield Granite in the filing and also says he did manual labor while his wife handled all office work.
“After she committed suicide as a result of the business problems, he became aware of the financial issues with the business and the undelivered work,” read James Strohl’s bankruptcy filing. “The police have her suicide notes indicating that the Debtor had no knowledge of the problems with the business. He has not seen the notes but was made aware of the notes.”
Amie Strohl’s mother, Cynthia Heck, is listed as Greenfield Granite’s registered agent in the Attorney General’s lawsuit against Greenfield Granite.
Records show Heck sold the Greenfield Granite building, 952 W Main Street, for $120,000 on Sept. 2—a week before Amie Strohl’s death.
Detectives reviewed financial records, but can’t disclose their findings to WRTV because the information is now part of the state’s case against Greenfield Granite.
WRTV has been unable to reach James Strohl or Cynthia Heck for comment via email.
No one answered at Greenfield Granite, and it appears the company has not been operating for several months now.
You can file a complaint about a business at indianaconsumer.com or by calling 1-800-382-5516 or 317-232-6330.