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Mother of 5-year-old girl found dead in Stark County restaurant to get 22 years in plea deal

Posted at 4:50 PM, Dec 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-28 16:51:30-05

The mother of a 5-year-old girl who went missing and was later found dead inside her parent's restaurant will receive 22 years in prison in connection with the child's death.

The mother, Ming Ming Chen, agreed to a plea deal this week. Chen is expected to be sentenced on Dec. 29.

Stark County Prosecutor John D. Ferrero said, "This was not an act of premeditated murder, nor was it an act in which Ming Ming Chen purposely caused the death of young Ashley Zhao."

According to Ferrero, the incident was "committed in a fit of anger by a mother who had never bonded with her child, because she had not raised her since infancy, and who was more of a burden to her mother than a blessing."

Zhao's parents reported her missing on Jan. 9.

Police initially thought the child had wandered out the back of Ang's Cuisine, located on the 4900 block of Portage Street Northwest in North Canton.

The girl's body was found concealed inside the restaurant by investigators the next day. Both of her parents were chargedafterthe discovery.

The girl's father, Liang J. Zhao, pleaded guilty in September to charges of endangering children, tampering with evidence, obstructing justice and gross abuse of a corpse.

Authorities said Chen had been staying in the country illegally, and it's expected that she will be deported after she serves her prison sentence.