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Battle for custody of missing woman’s child continues in Boone County


A custody hearing began Friday to determine who will have temporary guardianship over the child of Joseph and Mengqi Ji Elledge.

It comes nearly two months after Mengqi Ji was reported missing by her husband, Joseph Elledge, prompting a weeks-long search.

Jean Elledge, Joseph Elledge's mother, filed for guardianship of the couple's child in late October.

Both Mengqi Ji's and Joseph Elledge's family members are fighting for custody of the child. The two parties worked out a short-term, shared custody arrangement in early November.

Joseph Elledge is charged with one count of child abuse and one count of child endangerment for allegedly grabbing or striking a child earlier this year.

A change of judge request by Elledge's attorney in that case was granted Thursday. Judge J. Hasbrouck Jacobs was assigned to the case Friday and the first hearing is scheduled to take place Monday.

Boone County prosecutor Dan Knight named Joseph Elledge the prime suspect in his wife's murder on Nov. 6.

Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies continued the search for Mengqi Ji's body at the De Bourgmont Lamine River Access Point on Friday, marking the fifth day of that effort. However, failure to locate a body does not eliminate the possibility of murder charges, Knight told ABC 17 News on Wednesday.

Columbia police called on the public for assistance in the search for Mengqi Ji Elledge, asking anyone with information to call 911 or CPD at 573-874-7652.

Article Topic Follows: Boone

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Joe McLean

Joe reports stories all across mid-Missouri, including our WasteBusters series of reports, and co-anchors ABC 17 News at 9 a.m. with Zara Barker.


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