LARGO, Md. — A Maryland restaurant remained open and continued serving customers on Wednesday after a female customer died of cardiac arrest in the restroom. On Friday, the restaurant’s owner said he is not sure whether it was the right decision.
The body was found in the women’s restroom of Jasper’s Restaurant in Largo, WTTG-TV reported. First responders found the woman unconscious, and efforts to revive her were unsuccessful, according to The Washington Post. She was pronounced dead at about 6:40 p.m. EDT, the newspaper reported. Her identity has not been released.
Jasper’s was full at the time, the report said, and tables were still being seated while police investigated the incident.
“It’s just a tragic situation,” Jasper’s owner, Fred Rosenthal, 80, told the Post. “We’ve never had anything like this happen before.
“Hindsight is 20/20.”
Rosenthal told the newspaper that the restaurant’s manager did not want to spark rumors or cause panic among the patrons. Customers continued to be served as a portion of the building was closed off while the woman’s family interacted with emergency medical workers, police and a funeral home, according to the Post.
Miguel Perea, one of Jasper’s managers, told WTTG that the restaurant was trying to protect the privacy of the woman’s family.
“It’s not something that we are accustomed to,” Perea told the television station. “At the moment, we thought we were doing the right thing, and we realized maybe we were wrong.”
Prince George’s County police spokesperson Brian Fischer said no foul play was suspected, the Post reported.
Fischer said officers remained at the restaurant until funeral home personnel left, the Post reported.
Jasper’s customers continued to filter in and out of the crowded restaurant until the establishment closed out dinner service for the evening.
“Last night one of our customers tragically passed away within our establishment,” Jasper’s said in a statement posted on its website. “On behalf of our ownership, management, and staff we send the sincerest and most heartfelt support and condolences to the deceased’s family.”
Rosenthal said he had learned the family’s name from an incident report and was planning to call them to offer his condolences personally, the Post reported.
An investigation is ongoing, police said.
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