COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Police in central Missouri have resumed the search for the body of a Chinese woman who has been missing in Missouri for a year.
Mengqi Ji Elledge, 28, was reported missing by her husband, Joseph Elledge, on Oct. 10, 2019. He was charged in February with first-degree murder in her death and has pleaded not guilty. The couple has a young child.
Police had searched for her remains at the Lamine River near Booneville after cadaver dogs hit on a scent there. Boonville is about 100 miles (160 kilometers) east of Kansas City, Missouri. A temporary levee was constructed at the site to help the search but the effort stopped in June.
Assistant Police Chief Jeremiah Hunter said in a news release Wednesday that the water level at the site has recently dropped significantly, revealing that part of the levee was still present.
The remaining parts of the levee will be removed and searched by investigators for any evidence of Ji, The Columbia Daily Tribune reported.
Elledge and Ji married in 2017 and attended the University of Missouri.
The Ji family said in a statement that they appreciate the police department’s efforts during the last year but will not be satisfied until Ji’s body is found.
“We will never give up looking for Mengqi,” the family said. “We continue to hope for answers so that she can have a proper burial and we can have a funeral.”
Elledge also pleaded not guilty in March to domestic assault and child abuse charges related to the couple’s young daughter.