The husband of missing Columbia woman Mengqi Ji Elledge is the “subject of an investigation into the suspicious disappearance of his wife,” according to a probable cause statement filed by police.

Mengqi Ji Elledge was reported missing Oct. 9. Joseph Elledge, her husband, was arrested Friday after police discovered evidence of child abuse or neglect in their investigation, according to previous Missourian reporting. He is being held in Boone County Jail on a $500,000 cash-only bond.

The probable cause statement, made public Monday, was filed in connection with a charge against Joseph Elledge of abuse or neglect of a child.

The statement said Joseph Elledge “took a long drive through unfamiliar remote areas in mid-Missouri” in the time before reporting his wife’s disappearance.

According to the statement, Mengqi Ji Elledge had pictures on her iPad of bruising on a child’s buttocks in February. Officers also found two videos of the bruising. It is unclear if the child is Mengqi and Joseph’s because the child’s name was redacted.

Also in February, Mengqi Ji Elledge called someone with the initials K.R., whose full name was redacted from the statement, about the bruises. K.R. said Mengqi Ji Elledge asked Joseph about the bruises. He said they might have occurred during bath time.

After his arrest, Elledge admitted he did bruise the child “7 to 8 months prior,” according to the statement. In the statement, he said “he may have pinched her and caused the bruising or just held her too hard.”

“The injury does not appear to be consistent with a pinch or tight holding but appears like a bruise that would come from some sort of strike,” the statement said.

Police served a search warrant to the Elledge home, where Joseph Elledge was found trying to leave Columbia with his mother and child, according to the statement.

Joseph Elledge’s first appearance in court was Monday afternoon. His bond hearing is set for Nov. 5, and his case review is scheduled for Nov. 26.

Supervising editor is Hannah Hoffmeister.

  • Education beat reporter at the Columbia Missourian, fall 2019. Studying News Reporting at MU. Reach me at or the newsroom at 882-5720.

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