Early in the morning on July 31, an Ocean City Public Works Department beach cleaning crew discovered the body of Plano, Texas resident Ashley O'Connor on the beach.Ashley O'Connor's body was discovered buried in a hole in the sand that was at least waist deep. The woman was vacationing in Ocean City and got separated from her family at around 2 a.m.. With the body being discovered at 6:30 a.m., police are left with piecing together the four and a half hour window that led to her death. Ocean City Communications Director Jessica Waters remarked that the death appeared to be accidental, however police have still not publicly released a cause of death.
The Ocean City Police Forensics Unit spent Monday morning and afternoon surveying the crime scene for clues before excavating the body from the hole at approximately 4:15 p.m with the help of the Maryland State Police. In the abundance of caution, police roped off a large section of the beach to prevent beachgoers from contaminating the crime scene. The beach cleaning equipment that was used by the crew that discovered the body was also left untouched, though one source said that was to block the public's view of the crime scene. The incident didn't seem to deter beachgoers, who decided to hit the waves anyway. While that may sound insensitive, many of the families had saved up for this vacation and weren't going to let anything - not even a dead body - ruin that. Karen Lavery, who is in town on vacation, explained that she couldn't afford to cancel one of her beach days. "It wasn't going to keep us off the beach all day, not when we're only here for a few days." Many beachgoers agreed with her. The discovery is a stark reminder that while Ocean City remains a family destination during the day, the nightlife can be anything but.