JACKSON TOWNSHIP, Ohio - Police have taken the parents of 5-year-old Ashley Zhao into custody on Tuesday evening.
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.
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 12 News sister station WKYC that he was trying to contact the family for help.