It was announced on June 30, 2017 that a PhD physics researcher at the Univ of IL, Brendt Christensen was arrested on suspicion of abducting missing Chinese scholar Yingying Zhang.
Authorities tracked down Christensen through his car, a black Saturn, which was captured on closed circuit camera driving Yingying away on June 9, 2017.
After being questioned by the FBI initially, Christensen claimed to not remember what he was doing at the time of Zhang’s disappearance. Later on he admitted to picking her up and claimed that he drove her a few blocks and dropped her off.
Investigators said that they believe Yingying is dead but declined to elaborate on how they formed this opinion.
“According to the affidavit, on June 29, 2017, while Christensen was under law enforcement surveillance, agents overheard him explaining that he kidnapped Zhang. Based on this, and other facts uncovered during the investigation of this matter, law enforcement agents believe that Ms. Zhang is no longer alive. “
A memorial service for the Chinese visiting scholar was originally scheduled for today by the University of Illinois but was subsequently canceled. The whereabouts of Yingying Zhang is apparently still unknown so the search for her is ongoing.