Cemetery removes Iraq War vet's SpongeBob SquarePants headstone - FOX 35 News Orlando

Cemetery removes Iraq War vet's SpongeBob SquarePants headstone

Posted: Updated:

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."

  • Viral StoriesMore>>

  • Puerto Rico declares chikungunya epidemic

    Puerto Rico declares chikungunya epidemic

    Friday, July 18 2014 7:48 AM EDT2014-07-18 11:48:06 GMT
    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- Health officials in Puerto Rico on Thursday declared an epidemic of the mosquito-borne virus known as chikungunya, which was introduced into the Caribbean region late last year. Health Secretary Ana Rius said that more than 200 cases had been confirmed on the island as of June 25 and that the majority of them were reported in the capital of San Juan and nearby areas. The first case of chikungunya in the U.S. territory was reported in late May. Also on Thursday, ...
    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- Health officials in Puerto Rico on Thursday declared an epidemic of the mosquito-borne virus known as chikungunya, which was introduced into the Caribbean region late last year. Health Secretary Ana Rius said that more than 200 cases had been confirmed on the island as of June 25 and that the majority of them were reported in the capital of San Juan and nearby areas. The first case of chikungunya in the U.S. territory was reported in late May. Also on Thursday, ...
  • Couple and baby miss Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 that was downed over Ukraine

    Couple and baby miss Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 that was downed over Ukraine

    Friday, July 18 2014 7:47 AM EDT2014-07-18 11:47:36 GMT
    Imagine how you would feel if you were supposed to be on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 that was downed over eastern Ukraine on Thursday but changed your flight for a later time?
    Imagine how you would feel if you were supposed to be on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 that was downed over eastern Ukraine on Thursday but changed your flight for a later time?
  • Company sets limits on how long workers can use bathroom

    Company sets limits on how long workers can use bathroom

    Wednesday, July 16 2014 11:02 AM EDT2014-07-16 15:02:02 GMT
    Should an employer have any say in how much time you spend in the bathroom on company time? According to an article on CNN.com, Chicago's Watersaver Faucet Company installed swipe card systems on bathrooms at their factory in an attempt to limit bathroom breaks to 6 minutes or less. WaterSaver disciplined nineteen workers for what they call "excessive use" of washrooms. FOX 5’s Wisdom Martin has more. READ MORE: http://money.cnn.com/2014/07/15/smallbusiness/bathroom-time-penalty/
    Should an employer have any say in how much time you spend in the bathroom on company time? According to an article on CNN.com, Chicago's Watersaver Faucet Company installed swipe card systems on bathrooms at their factory in an attempt to limit bathroom breaks to 6 minutes or less. WaterSaver disciplined nineteen workers for what they call "excessive use" of washrooms. FOX 5’s Wisdom Martin has more. READ MORE: http://money.cnn.com/2014/07/15/smallbusiness/bathroom-time-penalty/
Powered by WorldNow

35 Skyline Drive
Lake Mary, FL 32746

Phone: (407) 644-3535
News Tips: (866) 55-FOX35

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices