COLUMBIA - Over 50 more witnesses were endorsed Monday in the murder trial of Joseph Elledge, giving the prosecuting attorney permission to list people as a witness.

According to Boone County Prosecutor Dan Knight, there are a total of 249 witnesses currently endorsed. 

Former Cole County Prosecutor Bill Tackett explained to KOMU 8 that the high number of witnesses is most likely due to the number of law enforcement officials who searched the Lamine River and other areas of mid-Missouri for Mengqi Ji.

Knight also offered the defense the opportunity to examine Ji's remains, which are currently at the medical examiner's office.

The case will have another hearing on July 12 to discuss new evidence in the case. 

"Right now we are scheduled to take up at least one motion dealing with Mengqi and the defendant," Knight said. 

Knight also filed a legal brief on May 27 showing new audio evidence in the case, which describe Elledge as manipulating and controlling.

The new evidence includes 12 secret audio recordings. Ji recorded two conversations that occurred between her and Elledge. Elledge recorded the other 10. Transcriptions of the recordings describe Elledge severely threatening Ji and gaslighting her to gain control and manipulate her.

The briefing states that, most likely, Ji was killed her in their shared apartment in the late evening of Oct. 8, 2019. That next day, police allege Elledge drove to many different isolated locations around mid-Missouri and eventually dumped her body. 

Ji had been missing since Oct. 10, 2019. Her remains were found by a hiker in Rock Bridge State Park on March 26, 2021. Officials say they found Ji's driver's license and credit cards nearby, along with clothing and "other items" they believe belonged to her.

Below is a full timeline of Ji's disappearance.