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'We blew it!' | Owner admits to mistake after restaurant stayed open with woman's body in restroom

Jasper's owner says workers performed CPR but should have closed the front door and let diners decide whether to stay. He says the staff got it 90% right.

LARGO, Md. — The owner of a popular Prince George's restaurant that stayed open after a woman died in the bathroom is pleading for forgiveness from the community.

The incident happened earlier this month at Jasper's Restaurant in Largo.

Jasper's owner Fredric Rosenthal is apologizing to the community. He's sorry the restaurant stayed open for hours after Verna Winn passed away in the women's room.

"We were devastated... One of our staff performed CPR until the rescue squad got there," said Rosenthal.

Winn, 73, had been having a late lunch with her husband and friends on October 12. She went to the lady's room after they were done and apparently suffered a fatal heart attack. 

The restaurant kept serving while medics and police arrived, and then kept welcoming customers right through dinner while her body lay in the closed-off bathroom and the family waited for workers from a funeral home to get there.

"We blew it," said Rosenthal. "We probably should have closed the bar immediately and given people two options: Finish your dinner, and if you prefer not, we’ll pick up the tab for your meal."

We also just spoke to Craig Winn, Verna's husband. He did not want to appear on camera, but he says Rosenthal has apologized to him too. And Craig Winn is urging people not to boycott the restaurant, as at least one customer suggested in a viral tweet on social media.

"A little over 20-25% of our business is dropped off... We’re local folks... We are aggressively trying to do the right thing. But somehow good news doesn’t travel fast. Only bad news," said Rosenthal.

Rosenthal says Jasper's has supported the Prince George's community for more than 40 years, donating to school sports teams and supporting teachers and firefighters.

Craig Winn is hoping Rosenthal will fulfill his promise to make his restaurant a leader in dealing with these kinds of tragedies. Having all its staff trained in CPR, he says, would be a lasting legacy for the wife he called his best friend, his soulmate, his life partner.

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