CINCINNATI, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- The family of an Ohio soldier whose gravesite bears a pair of "SpongeBob SquarePants" statues said the cemetery told them the monuments would be removed.
Deborah Walker, mother of Army Sgt. Kimberly Walker, 28, who was found dead in a Colorado hotel room in February, said the family installed the two 7,000-pound SpongeBob monuments at the family's six-grave plot at Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati as a tribute to the slain solider, who loved the cartoon character, WLWT-TV, Cincinnati, reported Monday.
Walker said one of the 6-foot monuments wears an Army uniform for Kimberly and the other wears a Navy uniform in honor of Kimberly's sister, Kara.
Walker said they received approval for the monuments and they were installed Oct. 10. However, she said the cemetery told the family the following day the monuments were inappropriate and would have to be removed.
"I feel like, and we all feel like, SpongeBob should stay there. We bought the plots, all six of them. We put the monuments there, we did what we had to do and they said they could provide that service to us," Walker said.
Spring Grove President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Freytag said he will meet with the Walker family in the hopes of reaching a compromise.
"Spring Grove is deeply sorry for the issues involving the monument the Walker family recently purchased. Although the family chose a design with the guidance of a Spring Grove employee, unfortunately the monument did not fit within Spring Grove Cemetery guidelines. ... We are working with the Walker family and are committed to design a solution, at our expense, that will properly memorialize Kimberly, within the context of Spring Grove's historic landscape and guidelines," Freytag said.