Dec 04, 2019 11:30 AM

Missouri couple says stillborn son's remains missing

Posted Dec 04, 2019 11:30 AM

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri couple whose son was stillborn in November said the baby’s body disappeared from the hospital and no one has explained how or why it happened.

Kyle and Brianna Dudley, of Springfield left the body at Cox South Hospital in Springfield after he was stillborn in early November, with hopes that an autopsy and genetic analysis would explain what went wrong, The Springfield News-Leader reported. They named the baby Lucas.

They returned to the hospital about a week later but were told by hospital representatives that the baby was gone, the couple said during an interview Tuesday.

“We were told that the day that Lucas was scheduled for an autopsy, pathology went down there and they saw that Lucas's body wasn't there,” Brianna Dudley said.

The couple said they were shown video of a man in a hoodie who hospital officials believe took their son’s remains from the morgue. Dudley said she could clearly see a bulge in the man’s hoodie wrapped in white that hospital officials believe was their son.

“What purpose do you have of doing that?” she asked. “That’s our child, nobody has the right to do that.”

She said Cox representatives said the man was contracted with the hospital to transfer body parts to other areas but they declined to give the couple his name and said the matter had been referred to law enforcement.

Grant Rahmeyer, an attorney for the Dudleys, said police told him privately that the man in the video denied the accusations and was cooperating with police, and no remains have been found. And he said the hospital’s risk manager suggested the missing remains might have been caused by a “processing issue” but refused to elaborate.

CoxHealth spokeswoman Kaitlyn McConnell confirmed in a statement Tuesday that the baby’s remains are missing and that the case has been turned over to police. She said the hospital is conducting an internal review but that she could not provide more information because of the ongoing police investigation. A Springfield police spokeswoman said she couldn’t comment on an active investigation.

Rahmeyer said he and his clients are still hoping for answers but would file a lawsuit if they don’t get them.

Kyle Dudley said his son’s death and the ensuing confusion is a "nightmare over and over again."

“We were planning on having a cremation for him and a way to honor his life because he was very loved and important to us,” Brianna Dudley said. “And we can’t do that now.”


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Dec 04, 2019 11:30 AM
The Latest: Divers continue search for missing Chinese woman

Photo courtesy Mid Missouri Sheriff Dive Team

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — The search for a missing Chinese woman in a river in central Missouri has been called off until Wednesday.

Divers searched throughout the day Tuesday for Mengqi Ji Elledge, of Columbia, in the Lamine River in Cooper County. Divers also searched the river last week but didn’t find Elledge, who has been missing since Oct. 8.

After the search was called off Tuesday, police spokesman Jeff Pitts declined to say if any progress was made. Police have not said what evidence prompted them to search the river.

Police have identified her husband, Joseph Elledge, as a suspect but he isn’t charged in her disappearance. He is jailed on $500,000 bond on charges of child endangerment and abuse. The couple has a 1-year-old daughter.


COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Divers are again searching a river in central Missouri as they look for a Chinese woman who has been missing since October.

The latest search of the Lamine River in Cooper County is scheduled for Tuesday. The Mid-Missouri Sheriff's Dive Team said that it also searched the river last week for Mengqi Ji Elledge but didn’t find her.

Her husband, Joseph Elledge, has been identified as a suspect. The couple has a 1-year-old daughter.

He isn’t charged in her disappearance but is jailed on $500,000 bond on charges of child endangerment and abuse. Charging documents say the abuse occurred in February, and the girl's mother wanted to notify the police at the time, but she gave him another chance after he promised he wouldn’t do it again.