The mother-in-law of missing Columbia woman Mengqi Ji Elledge has filed a petition for custody of Mengqi’s daughter, according to court documents.

Mengqi’s husband, Joseph Elledge, was arrested Friday after the Columbia Police Department discovered evidence of child abuse or neglect in its investigation, according to previous Missourian reporting. Joseph Elledge is also the “subject of an investigation into the suspicious disappearance of his wife,” according to previous Missourian reporting. Mengqi was reported missing Oct. 9.

Joseph Elledge’s mother, Jean Elledge, petitioned for custody Wednesday because the daughter requires the appointment of a guardian since the parents are unable to assume the duties of guardianship, according to court documents. Joseph Elledge is being held in the Boone County Jail on a $500,000 bond.

Before his arrest, 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 a probable cause statement filed by police.

A hearing to address Jean Elledge’s petition is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Nov. 4.

Police said there is nothing more to report at this time about Mengqi Ji Elledge’s whereabouts.

  • Business reporter, spring 2021 Studying print and digital journalism, minor in business Reach me at, or in the newsroom at 882-5700

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