What started as a missing person investigation is now a murder case. Police say 5-year-old Ashley Zhao, who had been reported missing Monday night, was in fact beaten to death Monday morning by her mother Mingming Chen (pictured above). Her father, Liang Zhou, then allegedly “concealed” her dead body at the restaurant where they worked. Both are now facing charges related to the girl’s death.
Ashley’s parents said they had last seen her around 4 pm Monday, when they claimed she went to take a nap in the back of Ang’s Asian Cuisine, her family’s restaurant in North Canton, Ohio. When they went to check on her at 9 p.m., they said she was missing and called the police. This began an intensive search operation, using both ground and air reconnaissance, including drones and rescue dogs. Extended family members rushed to the scene, but complained about being unable to get a hold of Ashley’s parents. That’s because Ashley’s parents were hiding a terrible secret.
Police believe Mingming Chen killed her daughter around 9 a.m., Monday morning, pummeling her with her fists in the head and body, and bashing her head against the floor. When Ashley’s father Liang Zhou discovered what had happened, and noticed a green liquid coming out of her mouth, he tried to administer CPR to resuscitate her, but was unsuccessful. Police have not revealed details about how they discovered the girl’s body, but say her parents had hid it inside their restaurant. Chen has been charged with murder and felonious assault charges, while her husband faces charges for complicity to commit felonious assault. [Source: NBC's WKYC; Photo: Stark County Sheriff's Department]
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxgen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.