Columbia Police decided Wednesday to resume the search for a woman missing for almost a year after a decision was made to excavate a levee in the Lamine River.
The search for the body of Mengqi Ji, who was reported missing Oct. 10, 2019, had centered on an area of the Lamine River where she likely disappeared. During the ongoing search, a levee was built to give better access to that section of the river.
But with no success finding the body, the search was concluded Oct. 1. This week, police discovered that a portion of the levee remained and could be excavated. During the excavation, they could make another push to look for Mengqi Ji's remains.
"The river has been monitored since the conclusion of the search," Assistant Police Chief Jeremiah Hunter said in a news release.
When the water level in the river went down this month, more of the levee was exposed, he said.
"With the water level down, we discovered part of the levee we constructed was still present," he said.
City Utilities will excavate the rocks from the levee, allowing police to continue searching through the debris for evidence of the missing body.
Mengqi was last seen before she went to bed at around 11:30 p.m. Oct. 8, 2019, at 2600 Eastwood Drive. Her husband Joseph Elledge reported her missing Oct. 10.
Elledge, the key suspect in the disappearance of his wife, was indicted in February for first-degree murder by a Boone County grand jury.
The levee was built in May to provide better access to parts of the river where human decomposition was found by detection dogs.
There is still the possibility of not finding any evidence while the levee is being removed, police said.