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Everything You Need to Know About the Murder of Mengqi Ji


Mengqi Ji was born on April 18, 1991, in Xi’an, China. Mengqi’s mother, Ke Ren, remembered it as the day she received all the joy and happiness in the world. Mengqi was a curious child with a myriad of hobbies from painting, to calligraphy, to photography. She loved to play the Erhu, a traditional Chinese instrument with two strings; Mengqi’s parents watched in awe as she struck the cords with precision, filling their home with beautiful melodies.

Mengqi first went to university in Shanghai and graduated in 2012 with a Bachelor’s in Science. She then moved to Missouri, Columbia to obtain a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Missouri. The plan was for Mengqi to return to China with her Master’s Degree and find employment, but since life is full of the unexpected, things don’t usually pan out the way we intend. The same was true for Mengqi.

Mengqi graduated from the University of Missouri in 2014 with a 4.0 GPA. Almost immediately, she secured a job at a company called Nanova as a Materials Engineer. It was there she met Joseph Duane Elledge, a student at the University of Missouri also studying engineering. He was a part-time intern and Mengqi was his supervisor. The pair began dating and married on September 22, 2017. A year or so later, Mengqi gave birth to their daughter.

Mengqi and her parents were incredibly close and although they were disappointed she chose not to return home to China, they supported their daughter wholeheartedly and spoke to her every single day — that was until October 8, 2019.


On October 8, 2019, Ke Ren was unable to get a hold of her daughter. Considering they spoke every day, the silence instilled a sense of worry and dread in her heart. By October 10, Ke Ren’s calls to Mengqi continued to go unanswered — mother’s intuition told her something was wrong and she asked a local friend of Mengqi’s to stop by her home and check in on her.

When the friend arrived at the apartment 28-year-old Mengqi shared with her 23-year-old husband Joseph and their one-year-old daughter in the 2600 block of Eastwood Drive at 9 am, she called Ke Ren on video chat and Joseph told her Mengqi had disappeared.

Later that day at 3:30 pm, Joseph called the police and reported his wife missing for the first time — approximately 35 hours after she had vanished.

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