Parents of dead 5-year-old charged with her murder

Advisory issued for girl missing from restaurant
Posted at 12:58 PM, Jan 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-11 06:35:08-05

NORTH CANTON, Ohio -- The parents of Ashley Zhao, a 5-year-old girl who was reported missing Monday and discovered dead inside her family's restaurant Tuesday, now stand charged with her murder. 

A report from the Stark County Sheriff's Office said that Mingming Chen, Ashley's mother, struck her repeatedly in the head Monday afternoon. Ashley's father, Liang Zhao, attempted to revive her with CPR, but was unsuccessful, according to the report.

The couple reported their daughter missing Monday evening. They said she went to lay down at Ang's Asian Cuisine in North Canton around 5 p.m. Monday -- but when her mother went to wake her up at about 9:30 p.m., she was missing. A statewide missing-child alert was launched in response to their claims.

Authorities found Ashley's body inside the restaurant Tuesday evening.

Mingming Chen has been charged with murder. Liang Zhao has been charged with complicity to commit felonious assault and complicity to commit murder.

"(Ashley's) parents are very protective of her. She couldn't attend a birthday party unless one of the parents was able to be with her," Nina Amen, whose daughter attended preschool with Zhao, told The Repository in Canton.

North Canton is located in Stark County, northeast of Columbus.