Husband of missing woman drove in remote MidMo before reporting disappearance

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BOONE COUNTY - Joseph Elledge has officially been charged with child abuse while police continue to investigative the disappearance of his wife Mengqi Ji Elledge. 

According to court documents, after she went missing, Joseph, who is an MU student, waited a day and a half to report her disappearance.

The probable cause statement now shows "during the time between when Joseph said M.E. went missing and the time he made the report he took a long drive through unfamiliar remote areas of Mid-Missouri."

After the child abuse incident, Mengqi Ji questioned Joseph about the bruising on the child's buttocks, but at the time he denied it.

He later admitted his wife was not home at the time of the incident, and he tried to distract the child from crying by pinching them.

After the incident, Mengqi Ji "wanted to contact the police about the incident, but Joseph promised he would never do it again so she gave him another chance," the probable cause statement said.

Court documents say the injury does not appear to be consistent with a pinch of tight holding but appears like a bruise that would come from some sort of strike. 

Steffan Prom lives in the same apartment complex as Elledge. He said Elledge came to his door to ask about his wife the day after he reported her missing. But something felt off.

"He had no emotion whatsoever, and it was kind of crazy how he said it," Prom said.

He said he wasn't surprised when he heard about the child abuse charges, but it was still difficult for him.

“That’s an infant, and it’s just sad to see that," he said.

Joseph Elledge appeared in court earlier Monday, where he pleaded not guilty. His next court hearing is scheduled for November 5.

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