Published: Sun, July 02, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Missing Chinese grad student Yingying Zhang feared dead, Federal Bureau of Investigation arrests man

Missing Chinese grad student Yingying Zhang feared dead, Federal Bureau of Investigation arrests man

Authorities said in a statement they believe Yingying Zhang to be dead.

The charging paper only briefly mentions the online forum. Zhang, 26, was about a month into a yearlong appointment at the University of Illinois' Urbana-Champaign campus when she vanished.

Yingying Zhang's father Ronggao Zhang, left, and her friend Xiaolin Hou carry the banner as community members join together to walk for Yingying, a Chinese scholar who went missing three weeks ago, Thursday, June 29, 2017, in Urbana, Ill.

"We realize that this has been a source of anxiety for our entire campus community", Jeff Christensen, chief of the university's police force, has said. The FBI collects Christensen's cellphone and gets a warrant for its contents, whereupon agents find visits in April to the website FetLife, where he allegedly visited a forum titled "Abduction 101", which dealt with planning kidnappings and abductions.

Zhang, from Jianyang, China, was working in the university's Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, researching photosynthesis and crop productivity, the AP reported.

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) - The FBI has located the vehicle that a missing Chinese scholar studying at the University of IL was last seen getting into earlier this month, the FBI said Tuesday.

A criminal complaint says Federal Bureau of Investigation agents overheard Christensen explaining that he kidnapped Zhang while he was under surveillance, according to an Federal Bureau of Investigation press release. Zhang was seen entering the passenger side of the vehicle on June 9 which is her last known sighting.

According to the affidavit, agents overheard him admitting to kidnapping Zhang.

The FBI locates a black Saturn Astra at an apartment complex on West Springfield Avenue in Champaign and interviews its owner, Brendt Christensen, 28. When investigators interviewed Christensen again, he acknowledged driving around the University of IL campus and giving a ride to an Asian woman who said she was late for an appointment. The FBI announced this week that the auto had been found, but it provided no detail.

Zhang's father has come to IL from Nanping, China, to aid in the search.

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