Young man arrested, charged with kidnapping visiting Chinese scholar in US

Source:Xinhua Published: 2017/7/1 13:24:21

Local police arrested a man Friday evening for kidnapping Zhang Yingying, a visiting Chinese scholar at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in the US Midwest.

Brendt Christensen, a resident of Champaign who turned 28 on Friday, was charged with kidnapping Zhang, who authorities believe to be dead.

Christensen will remain in law enforcement custody pending his initial federal court appearance in Urbana scheduled on Monday.

Zhang went missing on June 9 after she got into a black Saturn Astra car about five blocks from where she got off a bus as she was heading to an apartment complex to sign a lease.

When FBI agents first talked to Christensen, who owns one of the 18 four-door Saturn Astra cars registered in Champaign County, he said he was either sleeping or playing video games at home when Zhang went missing.

However, later when police reviewed the surveillance video footage of Zhang's last appearance, it was found the vehicle which Zhang entered had a cracked hubcap on the front passenger side, which matched Christensen's car and made the FBI put him under surveillance.

"While Christensen was under law enforcement surveillance, agents overheard him explaining that he kidnapped Zhang," the FBI press release said.

"Based on this, and other facts uncovered during the investigation of this matter, law enforcement agents believe that Ms. Zhang is no longer alive," said the press release.

According to the federal charging document, Christensen in April visited via his smartphone two sub-threads entitled "perfect abduction fantasy" and "planning a kidnapping."

Members of Zhang's family, who have arrived in the United States and followed the search and investigation closely, were advised of Christensen's arrest and the evidence, the document added.


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