Search For Missing 5-Year-Old Leads To Body In Family's Restaurant

The girl's parents, who reported her missing Monday, now face charges over her death.

01/11/2017 11:35 am ET | Updated 5 days ago

An Ohio couple is facing murder charges after the body of their 5-year-old daughter was found “concealed” in her family’s restaurant, authorities said.

Mingming Chen and Liang J. Zhao had reported their child, Ashley Zhao, missing Monday night. Authorities arrested the parents Tuesday evening after they discovered the girl’s corpse at the couple’s North Canton business, Jackson Township police said.

Jackson Township PD
Authorities allege that Ashley Zhao's body had been hidden inside her parents' restaurant, Ang's Asian Cuisine.

The couple had told police that their daughter may have wandered out their restaurant’s back door sometime Monday evening.

After an extensive search, authorities found the child’s body “concealed” inside the restaurant, Ang’s Asian Cuisine, police said in an online news release Tuesday.

The Stark County Sheriff’s Department said the child’s head had been beaten, allegedly by her mother’s fist, WEWS reported.

Ashley’s father, Zhao, later found his daughter with a green fluid coming out of her mouth and took her to a bathroom to wash it off, the sheriff’s department said. Authorities allege he attempted CPR when he noticed she wasn’t breathing but helped hide her body instead of calling police.

Stark County Sheriffs Office
Mingming Chen and Liang J Zhao ach being held on a $5 million bond with their next hearing scheduled for later this month.

Chen was booked into the Stark County Jail on first-degree murder and felonious assault. Zhao is being held for complicity to commit murder and felonious assault, a judge announced Wednesday morning during their first court appearance. They are each being held on a $5 million bond with their next hearing scheduled for later this month.

A representative for Zhao’s attorney, Jacob Will, declined comment when reached by The Huffington Post on Wednesday.

“At this time it would be premature to discuss any facts with respect to this matter. He has entered a plea of not guilty, and he is maintaining his innocence,” his office stated in an email.

An attorney representing Chen did not immediately return a request for comment. 

This story has been updated to include comment from Will’s office.

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