Couple pleads not guilty in death of 5-year-old daughter

ASHLEY ZHAO (National Center for Missing & Exploited Children)

CLEVELAND (AP) — An Ohio couple who reported their daughter missing before the 5-year-old’s body was found hidden at their restaurant in January have pleaded not guilty to murder and corpse-abuse charges.

Twenty-nine-year-old Mingming Chen and her husband, 34-year-old Liang Zhao, entered their pleas Wednesday in a Canton courtroom. They remain held under $5 million bond.

Authorities say Chen repeatedly punched Ashley Zhao and that Zhao unsuccessfully tried to revive her and then tried to help conceal her death.

READ MORE: Ohio couple charged in murder after 5-year-old girl’s body found hidden

Authorities say Zhao told 911 dispatchers on Jan. 9 that his daughter was sleeping in the back of Ang’s Asian Cuisine restaurant in North Canton before she vanished. Police found the girl’s body hidden inside the business the next day.

Chen’s attorney declined to comment. Zhao’s attorney couldn’t be immediately reached.

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