Missing woman's parents seek custody of grandchild, hope husband confesses
COLUMBIA — Missing woman Mengqi Ji Elledge's parents are going to court Monday afternoon after filing to intervene in a guardianship case for their grandchild, days after the child's paternal grandmother sought custody.
"[The child] is not an experiment or a sacrifice for the Elledges’ to use against them," maternal grandparents Ke Ren and Xiaolin Ji said in a translated statement Sunday. "She should not go through any more trauma."
The custody dispute comes after Joseph Elledge, Mengqi Ji's husband, was arrested Friday, Oct. 25 for child abuse or neglect. A probable cause statement from the Columbia Police Department stated police found photos of bruising on the child, and Joseph admitted he did cause the bruising.
Police suspect foul play in Mengqi Ji's disappearance and have opened a criminal investigation. In the translated statement, Ke Ren and Xiaolin Ji said they hope that Joseph confesses so they can have closure about what happened to Mengqi Ji.
Jean Elledge, the child's paternal grandmother, did not inform Ke Ren and Xiaolin Ji about her seeking custody of the child, according to a news release from the family's attorney. Ke Ren and Xiaolin Ji said in the translated statement that they are "baffled and confused" by Jean's decision to file for emergency guardianship.
In a probable cause statement, Columbia police said Joseph was found trying to leave town with Jean and the child when they went to serve a search warrant.