Parents charged in death of 5-year-old girl found hidden in restaurant

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JACKSON TOWNSHIP, OH – The parents of missing 5-year-old Ashley Zhao have been charged in connection with her death.

MingMing Chen (Photo courtesy: Stark County Sheriff)
MingMing Chen (Photo courtesy: Stark County Sheriff)

Ashley disappeared Monday from an Ohio restaurant. Her body was later found inside the restaurant “deceased and concealed” after an extensive search of the area. Jackson Township Police report that Ashley’s mother, Ming Ming Chen struck the child’s head “several times with her right fist.” Those injuries resulted in Ashley’s death.

After this, her father, Liang Zhao, saw that Ashley had “green fluid coming from her mouth.” He took her into the restaurant bathroom, washed her face and saw that she had stopped breathing. Zhao performed CPR on her, but was unsuccessful.

Liang Zhao (Photo courtesy: Stark County Sheriff)
Liang Zhao (Photo courtesy: Stark County Sheriff)

This all happened at around 9:15 Monday morning. The parents originally told the police they had last seen their daughter in a back room at 4:30 p.m.

Tuesday evening, Ming Ming Chen was arrested and charged with murder and felonious assault. Ashley’s father was also arrested and charged with complicity to murder and complicity  to commit felonious assault.

A search was under way at the family’s apartment early Tuesday evening after the discovery of Ashley’s body.

Police, with the assistance of the FBI and Ohio BCI in cooperation with the Stark County Coroner’s Office were investigating.

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