COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
UPDATE, 9:25 p.m.: Judge Jeff Harris approved Joseph Elledge's request for a change of judge on Thursday. Presiding Judge Kevin Crane will now choose a new judge to oversee the case.
ORIGINAL: Lawyers for a Columbia man accused of child abuse and suspected in his wife's disappearance have asked for a change of judge.
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. He was arrested as Columbia police investigated the disappearance of his wife, Mengqi Ji Elledge, in October.
John and Patrick O'Connor, attorneys for Joseph Elledge, filed the motion seeking a new judge Thursday. Elledge remained jailed Thursday on a $500,000 bond.
Boone County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Knight has called Joseph Elledge a suspect in his wife's murder, but he has not been charged in connection with her disappearance. Investigators spent a fourth day Thursday searching part of the Lamine River in Cooper County for Mengqi Ji Elledge's body.
Columbia police said they expect the search to resume Friday.
Joseph Elledge's mother is also in a custody battle with Mengqi Ji Elledge's parents over the couple's child.
John O'Connor told ABC 17 News he had no comment on the request for a new judge.