Illinois Man Charged With Kidnapping Chinese Scholar


Published July 1st, 2017

Illinois Man Charged With Kidnapping Chinese Scholar

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Kidnapping charges were filed Friday against a central Illinois man in connection with the disappearance of a visiting Chinese scholar last seen three weeks ago and who is believed by authorities to be dead.

Yingying Zhang, the daughter of a working-class factory driver from China, disappeared on June 9, just weeks after arriving at the University of Illinois where she was pursuing studies in agriculture sciences.

Federal authorities say 27-year-old Brendt Christensen of Champaign, Illinois, is accused of kidnapping Zhang shortly after she stepped off a bus near the university campus. Video show her getting into the front seat of a black Saturn Astra.

According to the affidavit filed in federal court, on Thursday, while Christensen was under surveillance, agents overheard him explaining that he kidnapped Zhang. Authorities say based on this, and other facts uncovered during the investigation, agents believe Zhang is no longer alive.

Authorities have not indicated if a body has been found.