UPDATE 6/6/18 – Brendt Christensen is awaiting trial. Yingying Zhang is still missing
UPDATE 7/1/17 – The police stated they have charged Brendt Christensen, 28, or the kidnapping of Yingying Zhang. The FBI said they tracked him down through surveillance video. A Federal document said that a cell phone found during a search of Christensen home that showed that in April he visited a forum entitled “Abduction 101” that included sub-threads “perfect abduction fantasy” and “planning a kidnapping.” Court documents also stated that the FBI had an audio recording of Christensen bringing Zhang back to his apartment and holding her against her will, although Christensen stated he gave Zhang a ride after she missed the bus, but she got out a few blocks away when she panicked after Christensen said he made a wrong turn. Zhang is still missing and authorities believe she is no longer alive.
UPDATE 6/27/17 – The car that Zhang was in has been located, but the authorities are not stating where.
Original Story: Yingying Zhang, 26, has been missing from the University of Illinois where she attended classes in agriculture sciences, since June 9, 2017, after transferring from China to finish her studies here in America.
She was last seen getting off a bus at the University of Illinois, then getting into a black hatchback in Urbana that afternoon. In a surveillance video, Zhang is seen wearing a baseball cap and carrying a backpack and standing by the black Saturn Astra for a few minutes before getting in. Police stated the driver appeared to be a white male. It is believed Zhang was going to sign an apartment lease.
The car was seen circling the area before Zhang got into the car. The police do not know if the car was an Uber or Lyft the Zhang may have called, or if it was someone she knew. The Illinois police are doing what they can to find her and have tried to enhance the video to see if they can get a license plate.
The FBI has been called into the case and they are receiving constant updates, reports the Chicago Tribune. Jon Holloway, the ASAC at the Springfield FBI office said updates are being regularly sent to the office of the FBI’s acting director and 56 U.S. field offices. Holloway, also said “…more agents are working on this case than would normally be in the entire Springfield area.”
I am sure that many families who have missing loved ones would find this information shocking when normally in America, resources like this are rarely used to search for a missing person. The fact that it is being spearheaded by the FBI’s acting director, who by the title I know is located in Wash DC, and the field offices which are likely any of the FBI offices surrounding the area where Zhang was last seen, is so rare that I know of no other cases that this has happened. Sure the FBI that is local to the town will help in a case, but 56 field offices AND the director, that is unheard of. You can’t help but ask why, Zhang is receiving this much support that many other missing have not gotten. More importantly you can’t help but ask why every missing person doesn’t receive this much attention.
Zhang’s father, Ronggao Zhang, left Nanping, China and arrived at the University to help search for his daughter.