Cemetery meets with family to discuss Iraq vet's SpongeBob gravestone

Kimberly Walker
Kimberly Walker

Officials at a cemetery that removed a slain Iraq war veteran's SpongeBob Square Pants headstone met with the soldier's family to explore possible solutions.

Walker's headstone was made in the likeness of the popular cartoon character and erected at Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati on Oct. 10. The headstone cost her family $13,000.

The family had another identical headstone made for her twin sister, who is still living. It also cost $13,000.

Her family says they were told to remove it the next day even though the cemetery had approved and made suggestions on the approved design.

The family says they're beyond distraught. They say the towering headstone was perfect for Walker, who loved SpongeBob.

Spring Grove President Gary Freytag says the headstone was approved by an employee who made "an error in judgment." The cemetery released a statements saying:

"Spring Grove met with the family of Kimberly Walker this afternoon. We again apologized for our error and voiced our commitment to find a resolution. We offered several proposals including creating new monuments that would incorporate SpongeBob and the other images important to Kimberley and her family into an alternative design that will fit within our guidelines or incorporating the existing monuments into a different style of memorial. The family reiterated their desire to have the monuments re-installed as is, but agreed to consider our proposals. Spring Grove remains hopeful that a mutually agreeable compromise can be reached."

The family declined to do any on-camera interviews.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. FOX19 Digital Staff contributed to this report.