Neighbors react to nearby search for missing woman in Lamine River

8 months 4 days 13 hours ago Wednesday, December 04 2019 Dec 4, 2019 Wednesday, December 04, 2019 7:17:00 PM CST December 04, 2019 in News
By: Austin Walker, KOMU 8 Reporter

COOPER COUNTY - Neighbors who live near the Lamine River have watched the search for missing Columbia woman, Mengqi Ji Elledge, since it started weeks ago. 

Columbia police are leading the search efforts to find the missing mother with the help of other local law enforcement agencies.

April Schlapper, the President of the Lamine River Boat Club, said she watch the search from her property. The Boat Club sits across the river from the search for Elledge.

"I never thought this would happen," Schlapper said.

Schlapper said she has lived in Boonville for over 30 years and the community is surprised that a river they're so fond of has become the site of an investigation.

"I fished here, I swam here and I spent all my time here as a kid," Schlapper said."This place brings back such great memories."

Now, she takes her four kids to the same places where she grew up. She said she doesn't want her kids to associate the river with the search.

"I never thought this would happen to this place. Stuff like this doesn't happen in Boonville," Schlapper said.

Wednesday marked the third day in a row for search crews at the Lamine River. Columbia police officers are getting help from crews from Cooper and Maries counties as well as state troopers and U.S. Geological Surveys.

More divers were in the water Wednesday. As many as six divers helped with the search.

"We're getting tremendous support from all the local counties and emergency sources," Jeremiah Hunter, Assistant Police Chief for the Columbia Police Department, said.
Schlapper said she is nervous the search might deter people away from Boonville.
Columbia police said the search will continue Thursday morning.

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