Columbia police have completed the process of using a levee to excavate the area of Lamine River under Highway 41 where possible human remains have been detected during the search for Mengqi Ji.
Mengqi Ji has been missing for eight months since her disappearance was first reported missing by her husband Joseph Elledge on Oct. 10, 2019. Elledge has since been identified as a key suspect and was indicted for Murder in the First Degree by a grand jury on Feb. 28 in Boone County.
In May, CPD collaborated with the City of Columbia Utilities, Boone County and The Missing Person’s Support Center to build a levee that would aide in continuing the search for Mengqi Ji. During this process, the search crew consisted of skilled volunteer divers and the use sonar technology to search areas underwater.
The levee specifically allowed search crews to better reach the location in the river where possible remains were detected by the human remains detection canines used throughout the course of the investigation.
"The human remains detection canine is still positively indicating that remains are in the area of the river we are searching in," said Assistant Chief Jeremiah Hunter. "We are still exploring additional options that could potentially help us move forward."
This is an active investigation and there are no additional details to provide at this time.
If anyone has any additional information, they are encouraged to contact the Columbia Police Department at 573.874.7652 or call CrimeStoppers at 573.875.TIPS to remain anonymous. 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.
Case number: 2019-010707