Police are still trying to figure out how a vacationing Texas woman got buried in the sand on an Ocean City beach Monday morning. Though police, quoting Maryland’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, ruled the death accidental, city officials said investigations were ongoing and didn’t rule out foul play.
The deceased was identified as 30-year-old Ashley O’Connor from Plano, Texas. She was vacationing in Maryland with her parents, who said they last saw her Monday at around 2:30 a.m.
Ashley’s body was found buried on the beach — with just her arm protruding from the sand — at around 6:30 a.m. and was removed at around 4:15 p.m.
Police said she was walking on the beach and possibly fell into a hole dug by another beachgoer. They also alerted the public of the ongoing investigation through their Facebook account.
“Ocean City Police are currently on the scene of a death investigation in the area of 2nd Street & the Beach. Beachgoers reported seeing a body to city employees at approximately 6:30 a.m., at which time they alerted Ocean City dispatchers. The police investigation is very active and ongoing at this time. More information will be released by the department as the matter unfolds,” the post read.
According to a report in ABC News, police said Wednesday the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner had ruled the death accidental, caused by asphyxia due to suffocation. Officials were still awaiting toxicology reports to determine if alcohol played a role in O’Connor’s death.
However, in a statement, Ocean City Communications Manager Jessica Waters said investigations were still ongoing in the case and didn’t rule out foul play.
The spokeswoman for Ocean City Police Department, Lindsay Richard, also spoke about the ongoing investigation, stating it was strange that O’Connor had not drowned in vomit or water but in sand.
“Investigators are still trying to determine what caused that hole to fall in, which is something we may never know, but we’re still investigating it,” she said.
“Sand is very, very unstable. What happens is that you dig down and it seems like it’ll stay there, but then suddenly it’ll cave in. The deeper you go, the greater the risk because once the sand at the bottom of the hole succumbs to the pressure above it because of which you can have a very rapid cave-in,” said Captain Butch Arbin of the Ocean City Beach Patrol.