COLUMBIA, MO (KCTV) – Human remains found at Rock Bridge State Park in Colombia have been identified as those of a Chinese woman who has been missing since October 2019, according to the police department.
According to the Columbia Police Department, the body was positively identified as that of Mengqi Ji via dental records.
“This is another step in a very extensive ongoing investigation that began in October 2019,” Columbia Mayor Bryan Treece said. “Because the Columbia Police and many other agencies never gave up, the victim’s name is: Mengqi Ji.”
“From there, we will continue to examine the physical evidence and follow any further investigative leads generated by the recovery of Mengqi Ji’s remains,” said Deputy Police Chief Jeremiah Hunter, who informed the parents. of Ji that his remains had been identified.
“There are other violent crime families suffering, and we continue to work on their cases,” said Chief Constable Geoff Jones. “We are asking for the public’s help in solving these crimes.”
Ji was first reported missing on the evening of October 10, 2019 by her husband Joseph Elledge. He said he last saw her on the night of October 8, 2019 when she went to bed and disappeared when he woke up on October 9.
During their investigation, Columbia Police found evidence that a child shared by Ji and Elledge had been abused. “Detectives have found a probable reason to arrest Elledge for child abuse, and he has been returned to custody at Boone County Jail,” a police statement said.
Police also discovered that Elledge had visited several conservation areas surrounding Boone County before he denounced Ji as a missing person.
During the investigation, the police used the location history of his phone and found that he had spent time in one specific location more than elsewhere: the De Bourgmont access to the Lamine river in the Highway 41. He spent 45 minutes there, police said.
Joseph Elledge was charged with first degree murder by a grand jury on February 28, 2020 in Boone County. He remains in the Boone County Jail.
The investigation continued and police were informed on March 25, 2021 by park rangers that a hiker had located possible human remains at Rock Bridge State Park.
While processing the scene, several items were found that matched items that would have belonged to Ji.
As previously reported, dental records have now identified these remains as Ji’s.
The investigation is ongoing.
Columbia Police ask anyone who knows anything to call the Police Department at 573-874-7652, or contact CrimeStoppers at 573-875-TIPS (8477) to remain anonymous.
According to the Associated Press, “Ji graduated with a master’s degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from the University of Missouri in December 2014. She previously attended East China University of Science and Technology in Shanghai.”
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