Jasper’s Restaurant in Prince George’s County, Maryland stayed open and continued to serve customers after someone died in the women’s bathroom on Wednesday (Oct. 12).
Prince George’s County Police Department said they received a call around 6:30 p.m. about an unconscious woman. They arrived at approximately 6:40 p.m. The coroner arrived to the restaurant to remove the body at around 9 p.m. That was over two hours after the police responded to the incident.
According to a police report, the restaurant was crowded. The women’s bathroom, where the dead body was located, was closed off to customers, however, the men’s bathroom remained open for everyone to use. Miguel Perea, who is one of the managers at Jasper’s, told FOX 5 that the restaurant was protecting the family’s privacy. “It’s not something that we are accustomed to,” Perea said. “At the moment, we thought we were doing the right thing, and we realized maybe we were wrong.”
One of the owners, Fred Rosenthal, told NBC News that a family was dining at the restaurant and had just finished paying the bill when someone from the group went to the bathroom. “She went to the women’s room and when members of the family got up to leave and she hadn’t come back, they went to check on her,” he said. “Someone found her unconscious, notified our employees and we jumped into the scene and called 911. Police arrived within minutes.”
The body was taken out of a side entrance so customers weren’t disturbed. Jasper’s stayed open until midnight, continuing to seat diners until then. According to the Maryland Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, the woman died of natural causes.
The restaurant released a statement yesterday (Oct. 13) apologizing to its customers. “Last night, one of our customers tragically passed away within our establishment. On behalf of our ownership, management, and staff we send the sincerest and most heartfelt support and condolences to the deceased’s family. We will be reaching out to the family to see if there is any way we can support them in this time of grief,” the statement read.
It continued, “We immediately contacted county authorities and followed their protocol and procedure. Under the authorities’ guidance, we closed the area to patrons until all emergency services could arrive and followed the direction of the authorities.”