Woman who died on Ocean City beach suffocated in hole, police say. (WJZ)
The woman whose body was found in a hole on an Ocean City beach essentially drowned in the sand, according to a death investigation released by the town's police department.
Ashley O'Connor, 30, of Plano, Texas, was found on the beach early Monday in the area of 2nd Street. The Maryland Office of the Chief Medial Examiner ruled the death to be accidental, and "caused by asphyxia due to suffocation," the police department said.
O'Connor walked on the beach alone around 2 a.m. Monday, police said. It is still unknown if she climbed into the hole on her own or fell in before the sand caved around her, police said.
It's also unclear why the sand caved around O'Connor.
Ocean City lifeguards pull a dead shark out of the water near 121st Street. (Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun video)
An Ocean City Police Department spokesperson told delmarvanow.com that water didn't reach the hole, which was about 30 yards from the high tide line.
Spokesperson Lindsay Richard told the publication that it was "pretty much conclusively ruled out" that the hole was dug by someone with the intention of placing O'Connor in it. But Richard didn't rule out that a beach vehicle that combs the sand and clears trash may have covered O'Connor.
A toxicology report was pending, police said.
O'Connor's body was found around 6 a.m. Monday by other beachgoers. It was removed Monday afternoon, and the beach — which had been closed after the discovery — was reopened around 5 p.m., police said.
Police are investigating. Anyone with information may contact Ocean City police at 410-723-6604.