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Forensic team to examine human remains found at Rock Bridge State Park

Mengqi Ji
ABC 17 News
A photo of Mengqi Ji, who was last seen Oct. 8, 2019.
Mengqi Ji memorial
A makeshift cross is staked next to disturbed earth off the High Ridge Trail at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park. It's not clear whether this is the site where Ji's remains were found.


A forensic team is set to examine human remains found at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park this week.

The Boone/Callaway County Medical Examiner's Office told ABC 17 a forensic odontologist and a forensic anthropologist will look at the remains. Dori D. Burke with the office said the odontologist will arrive on Monday and the anthropologist will arrive on Thursday.

Top Columbia Police Department brass and the Columbia mayor said during a news conference last week they believe the remains are of missing woman Mengqi Ji.

Human remains found at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park
A Columbia Police Department cruiser blocks part of Rock Quarry Road at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park on Thursday, March 25, 2021. A hiker found remains at the park earlier in the day.

The medical examiner's office has possession of the remains found, Burke said.

Columbia police said on Thursday that the remains would undergo DNA and dental record testing to confirm the identity.

Stephanie Golda, a forensic anthropologist at Columbia College, told ABC 17 News on Friday that human remains still hold information.

The American Association of Forensic Sciences says forensic odontologists compare dental records, evaluate bite marks and can determine someone's age through dental records.

Police department officials did not say what remains had been found at the state park.

Assistant Police Chief Jeremiah Hunter said during the Thursday night news conference that several items believed to be Ji's, including a driver's license and bank information, were found at the scene.

Ji has not been seen since she was reported missing in October 2019 by her husband Joseph Elledge.

Elledge was accused of Ji's death in 2020 and faces a count of first-degree murder. He has been held in Boone County Jail custody since being charged with murder.

Article Topic Follows: Columbia

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Matt Ragsdale

Matt Ragsdale is a broadcast and digital producer at ABC 17 News.


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