Cemetery removes Iraq War vet's SpongeBob SquarePants headstone

Cemetery removes Iraq War vet's SpongeBob SquarePants headstone

Posted: Updated:

(FOX News) An Iraq War veteran's towering SpongeBob SquarePants headstone has been removed from her final resting place because officials at the historic Cincinnati cemetery deemed it inappropriate for their traditional grounds.

The headstone of Kimberly Walker, 28, was made in the likeness of her favorite cartoon character and erected at Spring Grove Cemetery on Oct. 10, almost eight months after she was found slain in a Colorado hotel room.

Despite getting the cemetery's prior approval of the headstone's design — a smiling SpongeBob in an Army uniform, with Walker's name and rank — her family said Monday that cemetery staff called them the day after it was installed to say it would have to come down.

The 7-foot headstone, along with a near-exact duplicate erected for Walker's living twin sister, have been removed and will not be allowed back up, cemetery President Gary Freytag said Monday.

"We've decided that they aren't appropriate for our historic cemetery and they can't be displayed here," Freytag said, adding that the employee who approved the headstones made an inexplicable error in judgment, given the cemetery's traditional, stately appearance.

He acknowledged that the cemetery is at fault and that staff members would be meeting with Walker's family on Tuesday to try to find a solution, which could include a more traditional gravestone bearing small likeness of the character.

Freytag also said Spring Grove is prepared to reimburse the family for each headstone, which cost a combined $26,000, and pay for new ones.

"I feel terrible that it got to this point but I'm hoping we can come out at the other end of the tunnel with a solution," he said.

Walker was an Army corporal assigned to the 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion and served two yearlong tours Iraq in 2006 and 2010 as a petroleum supply specialist, her family said.

Walker was found dead in a hotel room in Colorado Springs on Valentine's Day this year, strangled and beaten to death. Her boyfriend, an Army sergeant stationed nearby, was arrested and charged with her killing.

Walker's twin sister, Kara Walker, said the family is beyond distraught. A lot of thought went into the gravestones, which she said were chosen because her sister loved SpongeBob, even outfitting her entire bedroom with the cartoon character's decorations.

"It is frustrating that you entrust a cemetery to have your best interest at heart and accommodate you and your family at a hard time ... and because they don't like it they're going to take it down," said Kara Walker, 29, an information technician for the U.S. Navy stationed in Naples, Italy.

"My sister served our country and most people try to accommodate veterans and try to take care of them," she said. "For them not to accommodate and respect what my sister sacrificed, not only for my family, but for everyone else in this country, really bothers me."

She said the only way the cemetery can make it up to the family, which she said pre-paid for six plots for $29,000, is to put the headstones back.

"They already brought enough grief and pain to the family," she said. "We want what we paid for and what I know my sister would have wanted."

  • Top StoriesMore>>

  • Firefighters investigate suspicious fire in SW Oklahoma City Tuesday morning

    Firefighters investigate suspicious fire in SW Oklahoma City Tuesday morning

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 8:45 AM EDT2014-07-29 12:45:32 GMT
    15 people evacuated after gas leak leads to house fire15 people evacuated after gas leak leads to house fire
    It was an action-packed morning as firefighters had to evacuate many people in a neighborhood near SW 31st and McKinley after a fire and gas leak. Firefighters are trying to figure out how the home went up in flames overnight. Fire crews say they got the call after 1 a.m. Tuesday morning. There were heavy flames coming from the home. After putting the fire out, firefighters found the gas leak. A total of 15 people had to be evacuated from five homes in the area. Crews were able to turn off th...
    It was an action-packed morning as firefighters had to evacuate many people in a neighborhood near SW 31st and McKinley after a fire and gas leak. Firefighters are trying to figure out how the home went up in flames overnight. Fire crews say they got the call after 1 a.m. Tuesday morning. There were heavy flames coming from the home. After putting the fire out, firefighters found the gas leak. A total of 15 people had to be evacuated from five homes in the area. Crews were able to turn off th...
  • Another earthquake shakes up Oklahoma

    Another earthquake shakes up Oklahoma

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 7:11 AM EDT2014-07-29 11:11:12 GMT
    Earthquake hits northern Oklahoma Monday nightEarthquake hits northern Oklahoma Monday night
    MEDFORD, Okla. (AP) -- The U.S. Geological Survey says an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 4.3 struck northern Oklahoma on Monday night.The USGS reports the quake with an epicenter about 15 miles west-southwest of Medford hit around 9:45 p.m. at a depth of about 4.7 miles.Angela Wilson, a dispatcher in the Grant County Sheriff's office, says that she felt shaking in the Medford office but that no calls related to the quake had come in from first responders or residents.The USGS says...
    MEDFORD, Okla. (AP) -- The U.S. Geological Survey says an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 4.3 struck northern Oklahoma on Monday night.The USGS reports the quake with an epicenter about 15 miles west-southwest of Medford hit around 9:45 p.m. at a depth of about 4.7 miles.Angela Wilson, a dispatcher in the Grant County Sheriff's office, says that she felt shaking in the Medford office but that no calls related to the quake had come in from first responders or residents.The USGS says...
  • Alleged drunk driver crashes into OKCPD car

    Alleged drunk driver crashes into OKCPD car

    Monday, July 28 2014 11:55 PM EDT2014-07-29 03:55:09 GMT
    An Oklahoma City police officer suffered minor injuries after his cruiser was hit by an alleged drunk driver Monday evening.
    An Oklahoma City police officer suffered minor injuries after his cruiser was hit by an alleged drunk driver Monday evening.
  • More HeadlinesMore>>

  • Dog severely burned after trying to save puppies from fire

    Dog severely burned after trying to save puppies from fire

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 12:23 PM EDT2014-07-29 16:23:31 GMT
    Cokie was burned after she tried to save herself and her puppies from a fire. Image credit: WPECCokie was burned after she tried to save herself and her puppies from a fire. Image credit: WPEC
    It took just minutes for the fire to take over the shed that "Cokie" and her young puppies called home, now the critically burned mom is in desperate need of care.
    It took just minutes for the fire to take over the shed that "Cokie" and her young puppies called home, now the critically burned mom is in desperate need of care.
  • Man cleared in killing after almost 20 years in prison seeks compensation

    Man cleared in killing after almost 20 years in prison seeks compensation

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 5:20 AM EDT2014-07-29 09:20:38 GMT
    Kenneth Ireland was freed in August 2009 after serving more than 19 years in Connecticut prisons for a murder DNA proves he didn’t commit. He was represented by the Connecticut Innocence Project.In the early morning of September 3, 1986, the body of a 30-year-old mother of four was found in the factory where she worked alone overnight. She had been sexually assaulted and killed by a massive blow to the head.The investigation continued for a year without any arrests. In September 1987, two peo...
    Kenneth Ireland was freed in August 2009 after serving more than 19 years in Connecticut prisons for a murder DNA proves he didn’t commit. He was represented by the Connecticut Innocence Project.In the early morning of September 3, 1986, the body of a 30-year-old mother of four was found in the factory where she worked alone overnight. She had been sexually assaulted and killed by a massive blow to the head.The investigation continued for a year without any arrests. In September 1987, two peo...
  • Oklahoma County deputies save Harrah homeowners, release snake

    Oklahoma County deputies save Harrah homeowners, release snake

    Monday, July 28 2014 4:00 PM EDT2014-07-28 20:00:09 GMT
    Sgt. Shawn Shelby removes snake, and will safely release.Sgt. Shawn Shelby removes snake, and will safely release.
    The Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office said deputies were called to handle an intruder at a home in Harrah Monday morning, and removed him by hand.
    The Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office said deputies were called to handle an intruder at a home in Harrah Monday morning, and removed him by hand.
  • FOX25 Slideshows

Most Popular

Stories
Videos
Compiling list...
  • FOX 25 FeaturesMore>>

  • Tell Me Something Good

    Tell Me Something Good

    Tired of all the bad news? Looking for some good news? Tell Me Something Good, does just that! FOX 25's Mike Brooks finds the good in Oklahoma and tells you all about it.
    Tired of all the bad news? Looking for some good news? Tell Me Something Good, does just that! FOX 25's Mike Brooks finds the good in Oklahoma and tells you all about it.
  • Waste Watch

    Waste Watch

    How are your tax dollars being spent? FOX 25 Waste Watch tracks whether local, state and federal governments, or any groups, are using your money wisely... or wasting it.
    How are your tax dollars being spent? FOX 25 Waste Watch tracks whether local, state and federal governments, or any groups, are using your money wisely... or wasting it.
Powered by WorldNow
Powered by 

WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KOKH. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.