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Jury returns $8M verdict in civil death case

MONTROSS (AP) A jury has ordered a Northern Neck restaurant owner to pay $8 million to the two daughters of his wife, who froze to death on their property in 2010.

Media outlets report that the jury deliberated just more than two hours Thursday before returning a verdict against 62-year-old Stephen Andersen. Defense attorney John Harris said he will appeal.

The jury awarded the damages to the estate of 42-year-old Sally Rumsey, whose body was found partially covered with snow about 80 yards from the couple’s home near Haynesville. Andersen did not report Rumsey’s disappearance for 48 hours. The jury’s foreman said jurors believed Rumsey’s death could have been prevented had Andersen done more to find her.

No criminal charges have been filed in Rumsey’s death, but Westmoreland County Commonwealth’s Attorney Julia Hutt Sichol reportedly took notes during the wrongful death civil trial.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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