Joseph Elledge sits in the Boone County Courthouse

Joseph Elledge sits Monday in the Boone County Courthouse while being arraigned on charges of first degree murder, child abuse, child endangerment and third-degree domestic assault.  

Joseph Elledge did not enter a plea Monday during his arraignment in Boone County Circuit Court on a charge of first-degree murder in connection with the disappearance and presumed death of his wife.

Elledge was indicted by a Boone County grand jury Friday afternoon on the charge. His wife, Mengqi Ji, has been missing since Oct. 9. Her body has not been found.

Elledge pleaded not guilty to charges of abuse or neglect of a child, endangering the welfare of a child and third-degree domestic assault in connection with suspected abuse of his and Mengqi Ji’s young daughter. That case is scheduled to go to trial April 6.

Circuit Court Judge J. Hasbrouck Jacobs said a trial date would be set on the murder charge after Elledge chooses a lawyer. His attorney in the child abuse case, John O’Connor, said the decision on who will represent Elledge has not yet been made.

  • Grace Nieland is a general assignment reporter at the Missourian. She has reported on public health and safety, judicial proceedings and breaking news. She can be reached at or in the newsroom at 573-882-5720.

  • I'm the public safety and health editor at the Missourian and a professor in the School of Journalism. I'm experienced in directing investigative projects. Call me at (573) 882-1792 with story tips, ideas or complaints.

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