Two hours after a Black woman was found dead in a restroom, the restaurant where she was found continued to served food to patrons, according to local media reports.
The woman, identified as Verna, was at the establishment with family when she stepped away to use the restroom at Jasper’s Restaurant in a Maryland suburb. When she didn’t return, her husband, who referred to his wife as his “soul mate, my life partner, my best friend, my lover,” grew worried.
“Once we finished, we all got our check and everyone decided to go to the restroom,” her husband Craig Winn told Fox 5 DC. The woman’s cousin went to the restroom to find her unconscious in the restroom stall. She then rushed back to their table to tell her family.
“I just immediately jumped up and ran into the restroom and saw my wife lying on the floor and that was the last image of my wife. Lying on the stall floor in the lady’s restroom,” Winn said.
He recalls bystanders giving his wife CPR until police arrived. She was pronounced dead from a heart attack. For over two hours, they waited for the coroner’s office to collect her body. All the while, the restaurant continued to serve people.
A barrier was created to block the restroom where Verna was found, but the restaurant remained open until midnight. The restaurant’s tone deaf decision to remain open sparked backlash on social media.
“Hindsight is 20/20, we didn’t know it was going to take the coroner two hours to collect the body,” one of the owners, Fred Rosenthal, told NBC News. “If we did, we would’ve stopped seating people. We were trying to keep it as respectful as possible and not cause a scene.”
The co-owner said the coroner’s office arrived around 9 PM and was removed Verna’s body through a side entrance so that customers would not be disturbed.
“The only thing that would’ve made me feel better is if somebody, a management person who was working that night, would’ve come over and asked what they could do to make the situation better,” Winn said.