Global News

Man charged with kidnapping Chinese scholar

Man charged with kidnapping Chinese scholar

The FBI believes Zhang to be dead, according to the News-Gazette.

The FBI locates a black Saturn Astra at an apartment complex on West Springfield Avenue in Champaign and interviews its owner, Brendt Christensen, 28.

An Illinois man has been arrested and charged with the kidnap of Chinese student Zhang Yingying, who vanished from the quiet streets of a small U.S. city three weeks ago, local U.S. media reported. CCTV footage at the bus stop shows a black Saturn Astra, with Zhang getting into the front seat of it.

A federal criminal complaint alleges the suspect's phone was used to visit an online forum in April called "Abduction 101". Zhang was seen entering the passenger side of the vehicle on June 9 which is her last known sighting.

"According to the affidavit, on June 29, 2017, while Christensen was under law enforcement surveillance, agents overheard him explaining that he kidnapped Zhang". He will make his first appearance in federal court on Monday.

Surveillance footage showed the young woman getting into a black vehicle minutes after stepping off of a bus while on her way to sign a lease for an apartment in the Champaign-Urbana area of east central IL.

Fangqin Wan a graduate student at the University of Illinois walks for Yingying Zhang a Chinese scholar who went missing three weeks ago Thursday

Federal agents have arrested a suspect in the kidnapping of a visiting Chinese scholar who disappeared from the University of IL and indicated they don't think she is alive. Authorities say agents believe Zhang is no longer alived based on that and other facts their investigation uncovered.

Urbana-Champaign campus Chancellor Robert Jones announced her death to the campus with "great sorrow".

(Courtesy of the University of Illinois Police Department via AP).

The FBI begins continuously montioring Christensen.

The FBI is offering up to $10,000 for information leading to the location of the 26-year-old woman.

Zhang's father, Ronggao Zhang, carried a banner during the walk. At the University of Illinois, Zhang had been conducting research on crop photosynthesis. Zhang had a position at the University of IL that would last for a year, "at the university's department of natural resources and environmental sciences".

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