Grad Student Arrested in Chinese Scholar’s Abduction
A University of Illinois student’s arrest in the abduction of a student from China comes as surprise to the campus.
Authorities arrested and charged an Illinois man on Friday for the alleged abduction of a scholar visiting from China. They believe the woman is now dead, although her body has not been found.
Yingying Zhang, 26, disappeared three weeks ago, shortly after she got off a bus near the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign campus, and police believe Brendt Christensen, 28, abducted her, reports Yahoo News.
Zhang was reported missing by an associate professor on June 9, which was only a few weeks after she arrived on campus to research photosynthesis and crop productivity. She was among a select few admitted to the school’s highly competitive physics graduate program in 2013, reports the Associated Press.
Christensen was also a student at the University of Illinois, as well as a graduate assistant who had earned his master’s in May.
He was under surveillance when agents overheard him saying he had kidnapped the victim. Additionally, the criminal compliant claims Christensen’s cell phone was used to visit the “Abduction 101” online forum. Some of the threads he allegedly read were titled “Perfect abduction fantasy” and “planning a kidnapping.”
Also, after Zhang exited the bus, she got into a vehicle that resembled the suspect’s car.
The director of the graduate program who knows Christensen says she didn’t notice anything unusual about him.