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Authorities continue search for Mengqi Ji at the Lamine River


Crews returned to the De Bourgmont Access at the Lamine River near Highway 41 to continue the search for a missing Columbia mother Friday.

Authorities are searching for Mengqi Ji who went missing back in October.

The De Bourgmont Access has been closed to the public since Tuesday and Robert Hemmelgarn, a media specialist for the Missouri Department of Conservation says they plan on keeping the access closed there for as long as they need.

"We never like to ask to close down public access to public lands," Hemmelgarn said. "We want to be sure that we're able to maintain access to these public areas to the greatest extent possible, but in this specific instance, this is an important law enforcement investigation and, and we're always happy to partner with our law enforcement agencies and in their pursuit of important work that they're doing."

Multiple law enforcement agencies were on scene including the Columbia Police Department and Missouri Task Force 1.

Crews had a crane on the man-made levee they have spent the last three and a half days constructing. Divers were also in the water searching for anything in relation to the case.

Authorities worked with a human remains dog which they took on a boat around the levee. Officials said the dog was signaling in the area.

The levee is expected to cost the city of Columbia up to $50,000 including $10,000 which was donated by the Missing Person Support Center.

Della Williams, the founder of the Missing Person Support Center said they will continue to support Mengqi Ji's family.

"We will continue to assist the Mengqi Ji family until the funds directly raised for her & family are depleted," Williams said. "Then if asked we will continue to assist the Chinese Community in their fundraising efforts."

Mengqi Ji and Joseph Elledge

Her husband, Joseph Elledge, was indicted with first-degree murder on Feb. 28 after Boone County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Knight filed the charges against him.

Knight had previously named Elledge as the primary suspect in Ji's disappearance.

A probable cause statement filed in the murder case alleges Elledge may have strangled Ji before dumping her body in the Lamine River near Boonville.

Boone / Columbia / Cooper / Crime / Elledge case / Missing Person / Missouri / Top Stories

Zach Boetto

Zach Boetto started working with ABC 17 News in June after graduating from California State University-Channel Islands with a degree in organizational communication. He reports weekday evenings and weekend mornings.


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