Ashley Zhao was a five-year-old girl whose body was discovered on January 10, 2017 in her family’s restaurant in Jackson Township, Stark County, Ohio, USA. Following the discovery of her body, the local police department launched an extensive investigation in collaboration with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Ashley Zhao was a beautiful Chinese girl who was raised by her paternal grandmother until she was four years old so that her parents could focus on the family business. She moved to Ohio, USA, with her parents when she was four years old. Her mother began hitting her at every slight provocation not long after, and her father did nothing to help this helpless girl.
Following the couple’s arrest by the Stark County Sheriff’s Office, it was revealed by Ashley’s father Liang Zhao that his wife Ming ming chen became angry with Ashley because she had not yet been potty-trained. Chen allegedly punched Ashley in the face and hit her head on the ground after an accident. Ashley then began gasping for air and vomited greenish fluid, prompting Liang Zhao to attempt to clean her up. However, he soon realized she wasn’t breathing and attempted CPR, but she was already dead. The couple became concerned and went to pick up their other six-year-old daughter from school.
The couple then drove Ashley’s body to Ang’s Asian Cuisine, which is located on Portage Street in Jackson Township. Ashley Zhao was reported missing from her parents’ restaurant, Ang’s Asian Cuisine, on January 9, 2017. Her parents initially thought she had wandered out a back door. Authorities issued a Statewide Endangered Child Alert the next morning, January 10.
Ashley’s body was discovered “concealed” in a salt container in the freezer during a search of the restaurant to reduce the stench from the body. During Ming Ming Chen’s interview, investigators questioned her about her lack of emotion.
Despite her repeated claims of innocence, the detective can be heard questioning Chen about what happened and how her daughter died on the recorded audio. Chen’s response was cold and detached, as she admitted to murdering her daughter.
When asked if she had physically assaulted her, Chen admitted that she had. Chen also revealed that she had asked her husband to dispose of the body, which he had hidden inside their restaurant.
“You’re not even crying,” said one detective.
“I can’t,” Ming Ming replied.
“Why?” the detective pressed.
“Because I can’t. I don’t have any waters anymore,” said Ming Ming.
“I need to take care of everything in the restaurant,” she added. I only have two hands, and I don’t want to hurt Ashley, but you can’t always control yourself.”
Ming ming Chen entered a not guilty plea to the murder charge on the grounds of insanity during a hearing on October 12, 2017. Chen, on the other hand, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter on December 29, 2017, and was sentenced to 22 years in prison.
Chen will be deported to China once she is released from prison because she illegally entered the United States as a teenager.
In exchange for his testimony against Ming Ming Chen, Liang Zhao, a U.S. citizen, accepted a plea deal that resulted in a reduced prison sentence of 12 years. On September 11, 2017, he pleaded guilty to multiple charges, including child endangerment, corpse abuse, obstruction of justice, and evidence tampering.