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Search for missing Columbia mom enters its eighth day

Searchers in boat
ABC 17 News
Searchers head out on a boat on the Lamine River looking for the remains of Mengqi Ji Elledge on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019.


Law enforcement crews entered the Lamine River in Cooper County for an eighth day in the search for a missing Columbia mother.

Early on, crews had a specialist K-9 unit on a boat giving signals from where it picked up scents.

Columbia Police assistant chief Jeremiah Hunter said, "Divers can't stay in the water very long because of dropping temperatures so we have to be very methodical with when and where we send them out."

Mengqi Ji Elledge was last seen in her home on Oct. 8. Her husband, Joseph Elledge, reported her missing on Oct. 10.

Joseph Elledge is being held in the Boone County Jail on child abuse charges.

Boone County's lead prosecutor has labeled him a prime suspect in this case.

While the search continues, a custody battle is underway over Mengqi Ji and Joseph Elledge's child between Mengqi Ji's and Joseph's parents.

Hunter said crews will be back out on the river tomorrow but in smaller numbers. He said they will have one private boat on the water that specializes in using sonar.

Stay with ABC 17 News for more information on this developing story and watch ABC 17 News at 5 p.m. for complete coverage.

Article Topic Follows: News
cooper county
Joseph Elledge
lamine river
Mengqi Elledge
mengqi ji elledge
missing mom
missing person

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Zara Barker

Zara Barker is an anchor and investigative reporter for ABC 17 News. She anchors the Breaking News Desk during the morning newscast and anchors the 9 a.m. broadcast.


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