On Oct. 11, 2019, the Columbia Police Department began asking the public for assistance in the search for Mengqi Ji Elledge, a 28-year-old woman who was reported missing by her husband Joseph Elledge on Oct. 10. After an extensive five-month investigation, Mr. Elledge has been indicted for first-degree murder by the Boone County grand jury on Feb. 28, 2020.
"We are empathetic and supportive of the needs of the family as they endure this tragic time in their lives," Columbia Police Chief Geoff Jones said. "Throughout the search, we have consistently been in contact with the family and appreciate their collaboration with us. As we continue to search for Mengqi Ji, we will continue to work with the family to help bring them a sense of closure."
Even though the suspect has been indicted for first-degree murder, CPD will continue the search. As weather permits, CPD plans to conduct an additional extensive ground and air search of the areas that have been identified throughout the investigation. These areas include Callaway, Boone, Howard, Randolph and Cooper counties. Although evidence supports the intensive search of the Lamine River at the Highway 41 bridge, other plans are being developed to search areas traveled by Joseph Elledge.
"Over the course of the investigation, there were several factors that impacted our ability to search the areas," Jones said. "Overall weather conditions including soil saturation, rising water levels, flooding, precipitation, the amount of snow coverage on the ground, and the flow rate of the river all played a part impacting the team’s ability to effectively and safely search the area. We have continued to search and will continue to search for Mengqi Ji."
In our continuous efforts to be transparent, CPD has produced a Community Briefing video providing a brief update and overview of the events that took place over the course of a five-month investigation in the search for Mengqi Ji Elledge.
We appreciate the assistance of law enforcement and community partners throughout this investigation.
If anyone has any additional information, they are encouraged to contact the Columbia Police Department or call CrimeStoppers at 875-TIPS. Further information can be found in the probable cause statement which can be obtained through the Boone County Circuit Clerk. Columbia Police will refer all future inquiries to the Boone County Prosecutor’s Office, as there are no further details that can be released by CPD.
Link to Community Briefing video: https://youtu.be/f-KdUZPafys