MASSILLON, Ohio -- The parents facing charges in the death of their 5-year-old daughter whose body was found in a Chinese restaurant were arraigned in court Wednesday morning.
Mingming Chen and Liang Zhao appeared together in Massillon Municipal Court around 9:20 a.m. Wednesday. Chen faces first-degree murder and felonious assault charges. Zhao is charged with complicity to commit murder and complicity to commit felonious assault. Both wore orange Stark County Jail jumpsuits with cuffs around their wrists and ankles.
Bond was set for both parents at $5 million.
A preliminary hearing has been set for Thursday, Jan. 19 at 11 a.m.
According to investigators, Ashley Zhao died when Chen allegedly struck the child’s head several times using her fist early Monday morning.
It’s believed Ashley’s father tried to revive her, but was unsuccessful. He also faces charges.
Hours later, the parents reported Ashley was missing. As search teams combed the area, a statewide endangered child alert was issued.
Authorities say Ashley’s body was found Tuesday night concealed in the restaurant.
Her missing status surrounded the story that Ashley had gone to the back of Ang’s Asian Cuisine around 4-5 p.m. Monday to take a nap. When her mother went to check on her around 9 p.m., the child was gone.
Initially, it was believed Ashley simply wandered out the restaurant’s back door.
Ang’s Asian Cuisine is located in a shopping plaza on Portage Street NW in Jackson Township.