‘Mom’ who allegedly killed daughter before husband falsely reported her missing pleads insanity

Five-year-old Ashley Zhao was found dead inside her family’s restaurant in January

The mother of a five-year-old girl who was found dead in her parents’ restaurant has pleaded insanity to murder charges.

WKYC reports that Mingming Chen, 29, entered an insanity plea in a Jackson County, Ohio, court last week. As CrimeOnline previously reported, Ashley Zhao’s parents reported her missing last January, but the following day investigators discovered her dead body hidden in the family’s restaurant. Authorities have not disclosed exactly how or where in the restaurant that body was hidden, just that it was concealed.

Chen’s husband, Liang Zhao, reportedly filed the false missing person’s report after finding his daughter unconscious with a green liquid coming from her mouth. Last month, Zhao pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice, corpse abuse, endangering children, and tampering with evidence. The terms of the plea agreement required Zhao to serve 12 years in prison and testify against his wife in her murder trial, and murder charges against him were dropped.

Authorities reportedly believe that Zhao tried to revive his daughter with CPR before calling police to falsely report her missing. He told police that his daughter was last seen sleeping in the back of the restaurant and when he went to check on her hours later, she was gone.

Prosecutors have accused Chen of beating her daughter to death. She is facing multiple charges, including murder and gross abuse of a corpse.

It is unclear if Chen has any history of mental illness.


[Feature photo: Handout]