The Texas woman found buried on a Maryland beach Monday met with what was apparently a fatal stroke of bad luck. Ocean City police say Ashley O'Connor suffocated in a deep hole that apparently collapsed or was otherwise filled with sand sometime after 2am Monday. "We don't think there were any suspicious circumstances," Lindsay Richard of the Ocean City Police Department tells NBC DFW. Richard says the 30-year-old newlywed likely fell or climbed into the hole after she was seen walking on the beach alone. Richard adds it "hasn't been determined" whether tractors used to sift and clean the sand overnight may have mistakenly covered the hole while O'Connor was inside, as some on social media have suggested, per the Delmarva Daily Times.
Authorities are continuing to investigate why the hole was present in the first place. Beach rules prohibit the digging of any hole deeper than the knee height of the smallest person nearby. But while beach officials keep watch for such holes during the daytime, the captain of Ocean City Beach Patrol notes they are sometimes dug at night. Investigators say whoever dug the hole in which O'Connor died contributed to her death, reports WTOP. Only O'Connor's arm was visible through the sand, roughly 30 yards from the high-tide line, when beachgoers alerted authorities around 6:30am Monday. That was shortly after O'Connor was reported missing by her parents, with whom she was vacationing after a friend's wedding. (Read more Maryland stories.)