Ohio 5-year-old Ashley Zhao was first reported missing by her parents on Monday. They told law enforcement that the little girl had gone to rest in the back of the family’s restaurant at approximately 4:00 p.m. According to her mother, she went to check on Ashley at 9:00 p.m. and discovered that the little girl was missing.
BREAKING: Our first story since Ashley Zhao was found dead at Ang's in Jackson Township. https://t.co/btXMOcGtOP— CantonRep.com (@CantonRepdotcom) January 10, 2017
Police believed that the missing 5-year-old likely wandered away from the family’s North Canton eatery, Ang’s Asian Cuisine, perhaps out of the restaurant’s back door. An endangered missing child alert was issued by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office just before noon on Tuesday in the hopes of bringing the little girl home safe and sound, reports Fox 13 Now.
Those hopes were shattered on Tuesday afternoon. That is when, CBS News reports, the remains of little Ashley Zhao were found by investigators. According to a press release by Jackson Township Police, the missing 5-year-old was found dead inside the restaurant where she’d last been seen; furthermore, authorities claim that the body of little Ashley Zhao had been “concealed.”
Prior to the discovery of Ashley’s remains, police conducted an exhaustive search for any sign of the missing 5-year-old. Reportedly, law enforcement used all tools at their disposal over the course of the search, including dogs and even a drone and ladder truck with the help of the Jackson Township Fire Department.
Initially, the cause of Ashley Zhao’s death was unclear, although it had been reported that her mother was arrested for murder and her father for complicity after the discovery of the missing 5-year-old’s body.
Now, as Fox 8 Cleveland reports, new details regarding the death of Ashley Zhao have been made public.
The Jackson Township Police Department has reported that little Ashley was murdered by her mother, Ming Ming Chen. Reportedly, Ashley Zhao was struck in the head “several times” by her mother, who was allegedly using a closed right fist to deliver the blows. Police state that those closed-fisted blows to the head were significant enough to likely be the direct cause of Ashley Zhao’s death.
@MVielhaber I was so afraid of this when you 1st reported it last night. I cry for those poor children. So horrible.— Christine Hersh (@GOAT_Mom) January 11, 2017
rest in peace ashley zhao ????— matty :) (@matthewrctaylor) January 10, 2017
After the beating, 5-year-old Ashley’s father, Liang Zhao, reportedly saw that his daughter was seriously injured. The little girl reportedly had “green fluid coming from her mouth.” According to the police, Liang Zhao attempted to wash the little girl up in the family restaurant restroom. After washing the little girl’s face, her father realized that Ashley was no longer breathing.
Her father reportedly claimed to have tried to resuscitate the 5-year-old using CPR, but could not revive her.
While Ashley Zhao’s parents didn’t report their daughter missing until 9:00 p.m. Monday, and told police they’d last seen her at around 4:00 p.m., investigators allege that the murder of the previously “missing” 5-year-old actually took place as early as 9:15 a.m. on Monday.
Both parents were charged for their alleged roles in the murder of Ashley Zhao late Tuesday evening. In addition to being charged with murder, the 5-year-old’s mother is also facing felonious assault charges in connection with her daughter’s death. Ashley’s father has been charged with complicity to both her murder and the felonious assault she allegedly endured at the hands of her mother.
Mingming Chen & Liang Zhao spent the entire night inside the restaurant with police, presumably their other daughter & Ashley dead. pic.twitter.com/fjAN7LF26E— Mike Vielhaber (@MVielhaber) January 11, 2017
According to a neighbor of the family, Treva Rohr, she had never even spoken to the family and had only just “seen” 5-year-old Ashley.
“I’ve never spoke to them, I’ve just seen her in passing. It was sad, very very sad.”
After Ashley’s body was discovered and her parents arrested in connection with her murder, the apartment shared by the 5-year-old and her family was reportedly searched by police for additional evidence in the case.
It has also been reported that police cruisers from the Jackson Township department had been spotted outside of the home of relatives of formerly missing 5-year-old Ashley Zhao.
[Featured Image by Jackson Township Police Department]