Plano woman found dead at Maryland beach suffocated in sand

OCEAN CITY, Md. - Medical examiners in Maryland have determined the cause of death for a North Texas woman who was found dead, her body buried in the sand.

Police have identified the victim as 30-year-old Ashley O'Connor of Plano, Texas, who was vacationing in Ocean City with her parents.

O'Connor got separated from her family on the beach about 2 a.m. Monday morning, according to city officials; early signs showed her death may have been an accident, but police say nothing was ruled out as the case was investigated.

Beach goers alerted police after discovering a body in a hole in the sand, something very out of the ordinary for the resort area. Police say it's uncertain whether O'Connor climbed into the hole on her own or if she fell.

"Well, 6:30 in the morning we knew something was different and the number of police vehicles on the beach was very abnormal -- hasn't happened in 50 years -- I've been here on the boardwalk for 50 years and this is very, very unusual," business owner Joe Kro-Art said.

Kro-Art disabled his business' live stream of the beach, out of respect, as crews spent the day working to process the scene and remove O'Connor's body.

"I guess it was shocking. I mean, just seeing all these people, just kind of moving around and vacationing when there's someone that's deceased right behind us. It's a little unsettling," one beach goer said.

Maryland's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner released the ruling on O'Connor's death Wednesday, saying the woman had suffocated in the sand.