Prosecutors oppose missing Chinese husband's change of venue

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — A prosecutor has filed a motion objecting to a request for change of venue in the child abuse trial of a Missouri man who authorities say is a suspect in the disappearance of his wife.

In a motion filed Wednesday, Boone County Prosecuting Attorney Daniel Knight said a defense attorney for Joseph Elledge did not file the request for a change of venue within a 10-day deadline set by a Missouri Supreme Court ruling, The Columbia Missourian reported.

Elledge has pleaded not guilty to charges of endangering the welfare of a child and child abuse and neglect. Authorities have said Elledge is the prime suspect the disappearance of his Chinese wife, Mengqi Ji, who he reported missing Oct. 9. He has not been charged in that case.

Elledge's lawyer, John O'Connor, acknowledged when he sought the change of venue that he didn't file the motion within 10 days of Elledge's plea on Nov. 26, 2019. However, he argued the court could grant the request, primarily because of substantial media coverage of his wife's disappearance.

Knight argued in his motion that Boone County residents are not prejudiced against Elledge, and the state doesn't have an undue influence over county residents.