It was traumatic enough that Kimberly Walker, a 28-year-old U.S. Army sergeant, was found dead, allegedly by her soldier boyfriend’s hand, in a Colorado Springs hotel room on Valentine’s Day. But now her family finds themselves struggling with the Cincinnati-area cemetery where she is buried over a granite memorial cast in the image of her favorite character: SpongeBob SquarePants.
Deborah Walker, Kimberly’s mother, explained to WLWT-TV that her daughter loved the character and kept SpongeBob paraphernalia all the time. She was even buried with the doll at Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati, so her family felt it would be fitting to have a memorial of her favorite cartoon mark her final resting place.
The family paid more than $26,000 for two monuments, one cast with army fatigues representing Walker, and another with a naval uniform for her twin sister, Kara, currently an IT specialist with the U.S. Navy. The monuments are 7,000 lbs., each, standing six feet high and four feet wide, plus an eight-inch platform. The Walkers also paid for six plots in the cemetery.
With the initial approval of a Spring Grove employee, the monuments were installed on Oct. 10, but a day later the family was told that they were inappropriate and had to be removed.
The cemetery released a statement apologizing for the Walkers’ ordeal, but said it could not approve of the monument they picked out. Although a meeting is planned to resolve the conflict, the family has made its position known.
“We all feel like, SpongeBob should stay there,” Walker said.