The husband of a young mother who has been missing from her Missouri home since earlier this month has been arrested on suspicion of child abuse or neglect.
Citing police sources, ABC 17 News reports that Joseph Elledge, the husband of Mengqi Ji Elledge, was arrested on Friday after the missing persons investigation found evidence of child abuse. (The missing woman’s name had been previously spelled ‘Munqi’ in earlier local media reports.)
Earlier Friday, the Columbia Police Department announced it was launching an criminal investigation into the disappearance of the 28-year-old as authorities now believe that foul play was a factor in Mungqi’s disappearance.
Here’s Joe Elledge from our interview 10 days ago about the disappearance of his wife. Per Columbia spokesman Steve Sapp, “during the course of the missing person investigation, evidence of child abuse or neglect was discovered.” He’s currently being held in the Boone County Jail https://t.co/EA50PNvcHu
— Gladys Bautista KRCG 🏁 (@GladysMBautista) October 26, 2019
As CrimeOnline previously reportedly, Mengqi was last seen at her home in Columbia on October 8, when she went to bed at around 11:30 p.m. Her husband reportedly told police that his wife was gone early the next morning, and he reported her missing later that evening.
The couple had an infant daughter, Anna. Authorities have not said what evidence led them to suspect child abuse.
A week after Mengqi’s disappearance, Joseph Elledge told KRCG that the couple had drifted apart, and that he believed his wife had been talking to someone “on the side.” He also praised his wife’s parenting skills and promised to be a better husband if she returned.
“She’s been a great mom like the best mom ever .. Sometimes when I take care of Anna by myself it’s hard, it’s really kind of stressful and exhausting. Anna needs her mom,” Joseph told the news station.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the Columbia Police Department at 573-874-7652 or call 911.
This is a developing story. CrimeOnline will provide further updates when more information is available.
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