Yingying Zhang, visiting scholar from China, goes missing. Photo courtesy of the U of I Police.

Man Arrested in Connection to Missing Chinese Scholar

Yingying Zhang went missing on June 9 and more than 20 days after the disappearance, the FBI arrested a man and charged him with kidnapping.

Brendt, Christensen, 27, was under surveillance when agents said they overheard him say he kidnapped Zhang and took her back to his apartment.

“Based on this, and other facts uncovered during the investigation of this matter, law enforcement agents believe that Ms. Zhang is no longer alive,” the statement from the US attorney’s office and FBI said.

Her parents flew to the United States from China to search for their 26-year-old daughter. She had only been on campus six weeks before going missing on June 9. The last known sighting of Zhang was from a security camera where she is seen getting into a black Saturn Astra hatchback, see the video below.

Yingying Zhang, Photo courtesy of University of Illinois.
Yingying Zhang,
Photo courtesy of University of Illinois.











Zhang had a one-year position at the university’s department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences. She graduated in 2016 from Peking University with a master’s degree in environmental engineering.


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