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A year after the murder of Army Sgt. Kimberly Walker, her family has resolved their dispute with a Cincinnati cemetery about the SpongeBob SquarePants monuments commissioned to mark the grave site.
Their disagreement drew national attention last fall after the family was told the two 6-foot-tall, 7,000-pound statues — one for Kimberly Walker and the other for her living twin sister Kara — didn’t meet the standards of the historic Spring Grove Cemetery and had to be removed. That’s despite the Walker family receiving design approval from a cemetery employee for the $26,000 monuments, which were created with the permission of Nickelodeon. The cemetery insisted the staff member simply made a mistake, and offered alternative proposals.
But WLWT reports the original statues were reinstalled on Friday, only now with granite slabs to shield them from passersby.
In a statement to the TV station, Spring Grove Cemetery apologized to the Walker family, saying, “Our personnel oversaw the design and installed the SpongeBob monuments and then had them removed when concerns were raised by others. We deeply regret the distress this caused the family. We have worked hard to remedy the problem and appreciate the cooperation we received from the family during this process.”
Through an attorney, the Walkers said, “The peace the family can now enjoy at Kimberly’s graveside on the beautiful grounds of the historic Spring Grove Cemetery will help them find the strength to endure the upcoming trial of the man accused in her death.”
Kimberly Walker, who loved the cartoon character so much that she had a SpongeBob-themed birthday party each year, was found strangled and beaten to death on Feb. 14, 2013, in a Colorado hotel room. Her boyfriend was charged in her murder.