Updated: Iraq vet's family considering gravestone options
CINCINNATI -- The family of a slain Iraqi war veteran says they want her towering SpongeBob SquarePants headstone returned to her final resting place but they're also considering other options.
Kimberly Walker's family met with officials at Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati on Tuesday to talk about possible solutions after her gravestone was removed because it didn't fit in with the traditional grounds.
Her mother, Deborah Walker, says she agreed to consider the cemetery's various proposals if they would think about hers - simply putting the gravestone back.
Cemetery President Gary Freytag says that's the only option not on the table. He says an employee mistakenly approved the design and has apologized for the error.
The 28-year-old Walker was killed in Colorado earlier this year, allegedly by her boyfriend.
AMANDA LEE MYERS
Kimberly Walker loved the cartoon character SpongeBob Sqaure Pants.
When Kimberly unexpectedly passed away, her family put up monuments of the animated character at her gravesite in a historic cemetery in Cincinnati.
Now, the cemeterythat originally gave their permission has taken the monuments down.
Her family says it's the perfect tribute, but the cemetery disagrees.
Her mother,Deborah Walker, says what has taken place in her battle with Spring Grove Cemetery is bad business and disrespectful to her family and her deceased daughter.
"We went through the channels to get these plots and also to get these monuments and then you just turn around and walk away like we're nothing. They had no compassion for what we were going through."
In March, Deborah purchased six plots and two unique monuments of SpongeBob. Each weighs 7,000 pounds, stands 6 feet 8 inches tall, 4 feet wide and both have military uniforms on.
The granite monuments cost more than $13,000 each and the cemetery gave the go ahead for the design done by artist Tara Chambers.
"In the meetings that we attended, it seemed like we had the acceptance of the staff and personnel there so it seemed like it was going to be a great project."
But about a week and half ago, the family was told SpongeBob had to go because the monument does not fit with the historic cemetery's guidelines.
The SpongeBob monuments were removed one day after they were put in place.
Kimberly's sister is also very disappointed.
"I've received calls from a lot of friends because me and my sister both were in the military so a lot of military friends seen it knew about the whole SpongeBob I talked so much about it and was so excited."
The Spring Grove Cemetery acknowledges an employee initially approved the monument design but President Gary Freytag says the employee made "an error in judgment." And was not approved by senior management and cannot remain there.
Officials will meet with Walker's family on Tuesday.