A woman who was found dead in a hole along a popular Maryland beach on Monday was accidentally buried alive in the sand, according to an official ruling released by police.
Ashley O’Connor’s tragic death along Ocean City’s shore has been ruled accidental and “caused by asphyxia due to suffocation,” the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner announced on Wednesday.
“It remains to be determined at this time if O’Connor fell into the hole or climbed in on her own accord,” authorities stated.
Her body was found approximately four hours later by people walking on the beach. Adding to the mystery behind her death is that she was described as nearly entirely covered in sand.
Lindsay Richard, a spokesperson with Ocean City’s police department, told Delmarva Now that only a portion of her arm was exposed.
“Investigators are still trying to determine what caused that hole to fall in, which is something we may never know, but we’re still investigating it,” Richard told the local news outlet, adding that the result of a toxicology report is still pending.
It has been suggested that passing vehicles that comb the sand may have brushed the sand on top of her, Richard said.
Ocean City Today reported that a missing person’s report was filed for O’Connor early Monday morning.
Police said an investigation remains ongoing.
This story has been updated to reflect Wednesday’s announcement.