Neighbors react to missing woman's husband arrest

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COLUMBIA - Neighbors said they are shocked after a missing Columbia woman's husband, Joseph Elledge, was arrested for abuse or neglect of a child.

His arrest came after the department said it is opening a criminal investigation into his wife, Mengqi Ji Elledge, disappearance. She was reported missing on Wednesday Oct. 10. Detectives said Friday they now suspect foul play in her disappearance.

Columbia Police Spokesperson Steven Sapp said evidence of child abuse and neglect was discovered during the course of the missing person investigation.

Taryn Winkie, who lives in their same apartment complex, said she never expected this to occur in her quiet subdivision.

"I thought this was a relatively safe area, then you come home at 9 o'clock dead at night and there's police cars everywhere and people in the lake," she said.

Taylor Frantz, who also lives in the same apartment complex, said they were a quiet couple.

"It's just always weird when it hits close to home," he said. There's crime everywhere but when it's down the street it just kinda makes you wonder."

The parents of missing Columbia woman Mengqi Ji Elledge sent KOMU a reaction after hearing their daughter's husband was in jail. 
In a statement to KOMU, Ke Ren and Xiaolin Ji said, "We are deeply disturbed by the news that our granddaughter Anna was abused by her father while her mother, our daughter Mengqi, has gone missing for over two weeks. We are gravely concerned about the well-being of Anna and would like to help look after Anna before her mother safely returns home. We pray, for the safe and quick return of Mengqi and healthy growth of Anna." 
Columbia Police is asking anyone with information regarding Mengqu Ji Elledge's disappearance to immediately dial 911 or contact the nearest law enforcement agency.