COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Prosecutors have added a second child abuse-related count against the husband of a missing Columbia woman.
The Boone County Prosecuting Attorney's Office on Monday filed an amended complaint against Joseph Elledge, who had been charged with one count of child abuse last month. The revised complaint also accuses Elledge of one count of child endangerment by grabbing or striking a child under 17 years old sometime between Jan. 1 and Feb. 12.
The child is only identified by its initials in the complaint, which are the same initials as Elledge's daughter with his wife, Mengqi Ji Elledge.
Mengqi Ji went missing last month. Prosecutors later charged Joseph Elledge with child abuse but have not charged him in his wife's disappearance.
However, Boone County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Knight said in court last week that Joseph Elledge is a prime suspect in his wife's murder, citing what he said were threatening messages and accusing Joseph Elledge of trying to leave the area. Joseph Elledge's attorney has argued his client is not the only suspect in the case.
Knight said Monday that prosecutors filed the new charge after further review of the probable cause statement investigators submitted in the case. The maximum sentence for each charge is seven years. Knight said the investigation in the case is continuing.
The next hearing in the case is scheduled for Nov. 26.