Joseph Elledge indicted by Boone County Grand Jury

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BOONE COUNTY - A grand jury indicted Joseph Elledge on Friday for one count of abuse or neglect of a child and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. 

According to the indictment, Elledge is accused of one count of abuse and one count of endangerment for, "knowingly causing a child less than 18 years old, to suffer physical injury as a result of abuse by grabbing or striking the child." The incident happened between Jan. 1 and Feb. 12, 2019.

The indictment charges Elledge with another count of first-degree child endangerment, because he "created a substantial risk to the life and body and health of the child, by separating [the child] from Mengqi Ji."

Elledge is currently the prime suspect in his wife, Mengqi Ji's, disappearance. Columbia Police detectives have said they have not seen any evidence to lead them to believe Mengqi Ji is still alive. Boone County Prosecutor Dan Knight has called the disappearance a murder.

On Friday, efforts to search for Mengqi Ji continued at the Lamine River. 

Mengqi Ji was reported missing Oct. 10, and her husband, Joseph, was a subject of an active investigation into her disappearance, according to an early probable cause statement. 

We previously reported Elledge drove through remote areas of mid-Missouri before reporting Mengqi Ji missing. We now know he drove around for 8 hours, traveling from Columbia to Jefferson City, then stopping at a forest near Ashland before heading to Fulton, later driving to an MKT trail entrance in Rocheport.

Both the parents of Mengqi Ji and Joseph Elledge have filed for custody of their grandchild. Boone County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Knight said in court that both sets of grandparents will have equal custody of their grandchild.