Parents Charged After 5-Year-Old Ohio Girl Beaten, Left to Die in Their Restaurant: Authorities

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The parents of Ashley Zhao, the 5-year-old girl whose body was discovered in a Jackson Township, Ohio, restaurant after she was reported missing, have been charged in connection with her death, KTLA sister station WJW in Cleveland reported Tuesday.

MingMing Chen (Photo courtesy: Stark County Sheriff)
Mingming Chen (Photo courtesy: Stark County Sheriff)

Ashley was last seen at her parents' restaurant in Jackson Township, was reported missing by the parents on Monday. Her body was later found inside the restaurant "deceased and concealed" after an extensive search of the area.

According to the Jackson Township Police Department, Ashley's mother, Mingming Chen struck the child's head "several times with her right fist." Those injuries resulted in Ashley's death.

After the beating, her father, Liang Zhao, saw that Ashley had "green fluid coming from her mouth." He took her into the restaurant bathroom, washed her face and saw that she had stopped breathing.

Zhao performed CPR on her, but was unsuccessful.

Liang Zhao (Photo courtesy: Stark County Sheriff)
Liang Zhao (Photo courtesy: Stark County Sheriff)

The incident occurred around 9:15 a.m. Monday. The parents originally told the police they had last seen their daughter in a back room at 4:30 p.m., authorities said.

Tuesday evening, Ming Ming Chen was arrested and charged with murder and felonious assault. Ashley's father was also arrested and charged with complicity to murder and complicity  to commit felonious assault.

A search was underway at the family's apartment early Tuesday evening after the discovery of Ashley's body.

Police are investigating the homicide, along with the the FBI and Ohio BCI in cooperation with the Stark County Coroner’s Office.

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