JACKSON TOWNSHIP, Ohio - Police have taken the parents of a once-missing 5-year-old Ohio girl into custody in the child's death.
Ashley Zhao, last seen at Ang’s Asian Cuisine on Portage Street NW, was found dead and concealed inside the restaurant late Tuesday afternoon. .
According to Stark County Sheriff's Office investigators, Mingming Chen, the mother of Ashley Zhao, struck her daughter in the head several times with her right fist. Ashley suffered injuries to her body which caused her death. Police believe that the assault took place around 9:15 a.m. on Monday morning.
Mingming Chen faces murder and felonious assault charges.
Officers believe Ashley's father, Liang Zhou, discovered that his daughter had her head struck on the floor twice by Chen. He noticed Ashley had green fluid coming from her mouth. After trying to clean his daugher up, he noticed Ashley stopped breathing. He attempted to revive his daughter using CPR but was unsuccessful.
Liang Zhou has been charged with complicity to commit felonious assault.
On Tuesday night after charges had been filed against Liang Zhou and Mingming Chen, WKYC Channel 3's Amani Abraham shot this Twitter video of people leaving flowers for Ashley at Ang's Asian Cusine.
Ashley Zhao had last been seen Monday night, when she went to the back of the restaurant between 4-5 p.m. to take a nap.
Mingming Chen told police that when she went to check on Ashley around 9 p.m., she was gone. Her parents reported her missing shortly after 9 p.m.
That's when police and local law enforcement started their search, using both ground and air reconnaissance. Drones were utilized as well.
BCI was called to the scene Tuesday afternoon.
As time passed, the concerns grew as residents were worried about the outcome. A man who identified himself as Ashley's great uncle told Amani Abraham that he was trying to contact the family for help.
WKYC Channel 3's Chris Tye filed a special report on Facebook Live as the story continues to develop: