Man suspected in wife's disappearance requests change of venue

Joseph Elledge

The husband of a missing Columbia woman is requesting a change of venue for his trial next month on child abuse charges.

Joseph Elledge, 24, is charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child and one count of child abuse.  The charges were filed after police began investigating his wife, Mengqi Ji's, disappearance last October.  The charges are for abuse he allegedly inflicted on their young daughter.  

Elledge's attorney made the request last Friday, saying media coverage has been so intense in this case that there's no way his client can get a fair trial.  Although Elledge hasn't been charged with his wife's disappearance, the Boone County Prosecutor has named him a prime suspect; another reason Elledge's attorney says his client won't be able to have a fair trial in the county.

There's no word on when a decision will be handed down.