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Husband of missing Missouri mom drove to remote area before reporting her missing; was trying to flee when arrested on child abuse charges: Report

The husband of missing Missouri woman Mengqi Ji Elledge reportedly took a drive through remote parts of the state before he reported his wife missing, but after he is said to have last seen her,

The Kansas City Star obtained court documents allegedly showing that Joseph Elledge of Columbia “long drive through unfamiliar remote areas” between the time he told police he last saw his 28-year-old wife on the night of October 8 and when he finally reported her missing on October 10. Documents obtained by the newspaper and published by KOMU show there was a further delay in reporting Mengqi missing than was previously believed. Earlier reports indicated that Mengqi’s husband reported her missing about 12 hours after he woke early in the morning to find her gone. According to a probable cause statement, Joseph Elledge waited more than 24 hours to report his wife missing to police.

The probable cause statement also states that Joseph Elledge was preparing to leave town with his mother and 1-year-old daughter when officers arrived at his home on Friday to arrest him on child abuse charges.

The missing woman’s husband has been charged with felony child abuse and is being held in Boone County jail on a $500,000 cash bond, according to the Kansas City Star. KOMU reports that he pleaded not guilty to the child abuse charges on Monday.

The probable cause statement indicates that the child abuse allegations date back to February, when Joseph Elledge reportedly left a bruise on his daughter’s buttocks, claiming that he had been tightly holding the baby. The documents indicate that the bruise appears to have been the result of someone or something striking the baby. According to the KOMU report, Mengqi, who was not home at the time of the alleged incident, wanted to report her husband to police, but he promised never to do it again and convinced her not to contact authorities.

While Joseph has not been charged in his wife’s disappearance, authorities have opened a criminal investigation.

Joseph Elledge is reportedly next due in court on November 5.

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