PRESS RELEASE: Boonville, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) has temporarily reopened the De Bourgmont Access on the Lamine River in Cooper County.

On May 5, MDC closed the access to accommodate the needs of an ongoing law enforcement investigation. The Columbia Police Department (CPD) has suspended their operations for the remainder of this week due to forecast storms.

De Bourgmont Access will remain open for public use Wednesday, May 13 through Sunday, May 17. CPD and partner agencies plan to resume their investigation which will require the closure of the access from 7 a.m.–5 p.m. on Monday, May 18, and Tuesday, May 19.

MDC anticipates reopening the access to normal use and hours by 5 p.m. on May 19, though developments in the active investigation there will drive decisions about potential further closures. De Bourgmont Access will fully reopen upon completion of law enforcement operations.

ORIGINAL RELEASE: The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) has temporarily closed De Bourgmont Access on the Lamine River in Cooper County, beginning May 5, to allow for law enforcement operations surrounding an ongoing investigation.

The Columbia Police Department (CPD) and partner agencies will develop a temporary levee on the river to aid their efforts in locating the remains of Mengqi Ji, who was reported missing from her home in Columbia in October 2019. CPD released a community briefing video at youtu.be/bj-9iLdOi1o, which provides more detail on the investigation and the work officers will be conducting while the access is closed to the public.

A concrete ramp leads down a grass and mud riverbank into the brown-green water of the tree-lined Lamine River.

UPDATE: MDC has temporarily reopened De Bourgmont Access on the Lamine River while law enforcement operations are suspended. The access will again close May 18–19 to allow for an active investigation there to resume.

“We are continuing this search not only for the evidentiary need, but also for the moral and ethical obligation we have to her, her family and friends,” said CPD Assistant Chief Jeremiah Hunter. “We believe this is our best attempt at recovering her body.”

MDC will reopen De Bourgmont Access as soon as possible, when the needs of agencies working onsite allow for safe public use. The closure is anticipated to last 5–10 days, though that timeframe may change.

De Bourgmont Access consists of three acres, providing parking, bank fishing, and boat-ramp access to the lower Lamine River near the Highway 41 bridge.  Area users should check the MDC Online Atlas at nature.mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/places/de-bourgmont-access for status updates on the closure. For more information regarding this closure, call 573-796-0286, ext. 4284.

CPD encourages anyone with information on this case to call Crime Stoppers at 573-875-TIPS (8477).