Police continue to search river for missing Columbia woman

Emergency crews continued the search Tuesday for the body of missing Columbia woman Mengqi Ji Elledge after four straight days without finding her last week.

Teams have been searching for her body in the Lamine River in Cooper County near a bridge on Missouri 41.

Columbia Police Department spokesman Jeff Pitts reiterated the logistical issues that have come up during the search: access to equipment, low water temperature, low visibility in the water and a build-up of debris in the river.

She was reported missing Oct. 10 by her husband, Joseph Elledge. According to a probable cause statement, he is the subject of the investigation into her disappearance. Joseph Elledge is also charged with child abuse and neglect and is held in the Boone County jail.

Investigators said prior to reporting his wife missing, Elledge drove around several rural areas near Columbia. They have repeatedly said they believe they are searching the appropriate area to find her remains.


Food bank to host annual holiday food drive, fundraiser

The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri will soon hold its annual One for One Holiday Food and Fund Drive, which provides food to families during the holiday season.

Donations will be collected from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Lucky’s Market parking lot. Volunteers will be available to take care of the donations.

The best items to provide include:

  • Canned vegetables and fruit.
  • Canned meat.
  • Peanut butter.
  • Boxed meals.
  • Cereal.
  • Pasta.
  • Beans.
  • Rice.
  • Soup.

Only nonperishable foods will be accepted, and the food bank requests that no food in glass containers be donated.

Those unable to donate in person can give money to the Food Bank online at sharefoodbringhope.org.

Monetary donations are the most effective type of donation, according to a news release from the food bank. Every $1 donation makes it possible to purchase $21 worth of groceries.

Zimmer Radio will be partnering with the food bank to promote the food drive while sharing live donation results.

In 2018, One for One raised over 5,000 pounds of food and $175,193.

— Sydney Calhoun

Man pleads guilty to manslaughter in 2018 motorcycle accident

A man pleaded guilty Monday to involuntary manslaughter and driving while intoxicated after a motorcycle crash that killed his passenger last year.

Aaron Eugene Monroe, 40, admitted to drinking before getting on his motorcycle with a passenger the night of April 14, 2018, according to a probable cause statement. He swung into the turning lane to pass a car in front of him before running a red light and slamming into another car at the intersection of Paris Road and Brown Station Road.

Monroe and his passenger, Michele Groves, were both taken to University Hospital, according to previous Missourian reporting. Groves died as a result of her injuries, according to the probable cause statement.

Monroe was not licensed to drive a motorcycle and had seven prior convictions for operating a motor vehicle without a license, according to the probable cause statement. Court records show that Monroe has been charged with driving without a license two more times since the April 14 incident and was charged with another DWI on Nov. 28.

Monroe’s arraignment for his most recent DWI is scheduled for Dec. 27.

— Spencer Norri

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