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Columbia police ‘confident’ in search for missing woman

CPD Assistant Chief Jeremiah Hunter
ABC 17 News
Columbia Police Department Assistant Chief Jeremiah Hunter answers reporters' questions about the search for Mengqi Ji Elledge on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019.
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.
Authorities search the Lamine River in Cooper County for Mengqi Elledge on Tuesday, Dec. 3.


A high-ranking Columbia Police Department official said Tuesday that authorities are "confident" they're looking in the right place to find the body of a missing Columbia woman.

Divers resumed a search for Mengqi Ji Elledge Tuesday morning. The Mid-Missouri Sheriff's Dive Team searched part of the Lamine River in Cooper County under the direction of the Columbia Police Department.

"So far we're pretty confident that we're in the right direction," CPD Assistant Chief Jeremiah Hunter said Tuesday.

"Last week we used different cable camera systems and we're focusing on a different side of the bank today."

On Nov. 26, the Mid-Missouri Sheriff's Dive Team said on Facebook it had searched the river all day for Elledge, but did not find her.

Elledge was reported missing by her husband, Joseph Elledge, on Oct. 8.

During an interview with detectives shortly after reporting his wife missing, Joseph Elledge told authorities he had taken a drive through rural areas of surrounding counties, according to a news release. That interview led authorities to a specific search area in Cooper County.

Joseph Elledge is currently in the Boone County Jail on child abuse charges. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges.

Boone County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Knight has also called Joseph Elledge the prime suspect in Mengqi's disappearance.

Officials said they will continue the search at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 4.

Columbia / Columbia Video / Cooper / Elledge case / Missing Person / News / Top Stories / Video
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Brittany Wiley

Brittany Wiley joined ABC 17 News in December 2018 as a full-time reporter. She anchors weekend morning broadcasts and reports in the early evening during the week.

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Matthew Sanders is the digital content director at ABC 17 News.

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Zach Boetto anchors the weekend morning and weekday 9 a.m. & noon newscasts for ABC 17. You can find up-to-the-minute information on Zach’s social media, @ABC17Zach on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


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