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Mom charged with murder not a U.S. citizen; Victim's sister in protective custody

Chen (left) and Zhao (right). (Source: Police)
Chen (left) and Zhao (right). (Source: Police)
Updated: Jan. 11, 2017 at 2:39 PM EST
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JACKSON TOWNSHIP, OH (WOIO) - Mingming Chen, who is charged with murder for her youngest daughter's death, is not a U.S. citizen and her oldest daughter is now in protective custody, according to police.

Jackson Township Police Chief Mark Brink said the FBI is working to find out if Chen is in this country legally.

Authorities said Chen struck Ashley Zhao, 5, several times in the head with her right first before reporting her missing Monday evening from a restaurant owned by the girl's father Liang Zhao -- who is a U.S. citizen. Chen and Zhao also have a 6-year-old daughter. She is in protective custody with Stark County Children and Family Services.

Ashley's parents gave police evidence that lead to her body inside their restaurant, Ang's Asian Cuisine, according to authorities.

Zhao is charged with complicity to commit murder. Authorities said Zhao later found her and noticed green fluid coming out of her mouth, so he took her to the bathroom to wash it off her face, police said. He then laid her on the floor and attempted CPR after noticing that she wasn't breathing.

Originally the parents said Ashley had wandered out the back door of the restaurant. Her body was found a day later "concealed" in the restaurant, police said. Officers would not comment further about where Ashley's body was found.

Brink said he has never in his career dealt with such a horrific case.

Emergency calls about the incident are not being released by police because they are part of the ongoing investigation. No domestic violence or child abuse calls were previously made at the restaurant or the girl's home, authorities said.

Both parents are locked up in the Stark County jail. In a court appearance on Wednesday, they both had bond set at $5 million. The judge noted that the bonds were so high because they are a flight risk.

The Stark County Coroner's office is conducting an autopsy today.

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