COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
A petition filed in the Circuit Court of Boone County shows a woman filed for guardianship of a child in the case of a missing Columbia woman.
The court document was filed Tuesday in the probate division of the court for guardianship of Anna Elledge, who was previously in the care of her parents, Joseph and Mengqi Ji Elledge, in Columbia. Mengqi has been missing since Oct. 8, and Joseph is being held in the Boone County Jail.
Jean Elledge, who is listed as the child's grandmother and lives in Blue Springs, filed for guardianship. Joseph gave consent for Jean to become Anna's new legal guardian, according to court documents.
Joseph was charged with child abuse earlier this week after investigators found evidence during their missing person's investigation.
According to court documents, officers located pictures on Mengqi's personal tablet of bruising on the child that she had sent via email.
Joseph told police he might have pinched the child, which caused bruising. Court documents say the injury isn't consistent with the type of bruise that would come from a pinch or tight holding, but appears to be a bruise that would come from a strike.
The Columbia Police Department announced Friday their efforts to find Mengqi led detectives to believe foul play had a role in her disappearance.
Investigators say Joseph did not tell anyone about his wife being gone for over 24 hours, and did not report her missing to police until about a day and a half after he said she disappeared.
The court documents say during the time between when Joseph said his wife went missing and the time he made the report, he took a "long drive through unfamiliar remote areas of Missouri."
Joseph is being held in the Boone County Jail on a $500,000 bond. He has a bond investigation set for November.