How a Boone County, Missouri Murder Was Solved by a Tree
How can a tree solve a murder? When it has unique DNA like one in Missouri that helped convict a Boone County man of killing his wife.
The CBS show 48 Hours brought this case to light again that began back in 2019. It's the sad story of how Mengqi Ji was murdered in Boone County, Missouri. After she had gone missing, her husband Joseph Elledge had claimed that she had just disappeared and that he suspected she was romantically involved with another man.
Investigators eventually were led to a juniper tree when they discovered mud on Joseph's boots. Needles from one specific tree were found in the mud.
The unique DNA in each juniper tree helped police find a shallow grave where she was buried connected them to Joseph's involvement. As the Columbia Tribune reported earlier this year, Joseph Elledge was tried and convicted on Mengqi's murder and sentenced to 28 years - her age when she was killed.
Imagine that. A man may have gotten away with 2nd degree murder if not for needles from a lone tree in Boone County, Missouri that revealed what he wasn't telling investigators.
This case will be featured in its entirety on the CBS show 48 Hours if you'd like to explore more fully how a tree caught a Missouri killer.