Ocean City police: Sand cave-in death was accidental

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Ocean City police: Sand cave-in death was accidental

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The Ocean City Police Department concluded the death of a 30-year-old Texas woman on the beach was accidental, officials announced Thursday. 

Police Chief Ross Buzzuro said investigators worked methodically through the investigation since Ashley O'Connor was found on the beach near Second Street early July 31. 

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner later ruled the death to be accidental and caused by asphyxia due to suffocation.

The asphyxiation was due to sand in the hole O’Connor was found in closing in on her, where she then suffocated.

The Town of Ocean City and the police department held a news conference Thursday to outline the conclusion of investigation of O'Connor's death and confirm their preliminary findings. 


O'Connor was on the beach alone around 2 a.m. Video evidence shows her walking but not entering the hole, Buzzuro said Thursday. 

He added the 3½-foot hole could have collapsed after she fell and that the tractors could have contributed to the collapse. The tractors sift the sand, ensuring the beach is clean and leveled for the next day.

She was found around 6:30 a.m. about 1½ feet below the surface with no physical injuries, Buzzuro said. Police believe time of death was between 2-3 a.m. based on post-mortem tests.  

Alcohol was present in O'Connor's system beyond the legal limits to drive, Buzzuro said Thursday. 

The family has not released a statement at this time, Buzzuro said, but police were in regular contact with them. 

"First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with the family, but we never want this to happen again," said Mayor Rick Meehan.