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Missing Chinese student believed to be dead, as US man is charged with her kidnap

Suspect ‘explained’ while under surveillance how he kidnapped visiting scholar from streets near her university, FBI says

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 July, 2017, 11:39am
UPDATED : Friday, 07 July, 2017, 9:21pm

An Illinois man has been arrested and charged with the kidnap of Chinese student Zhang Yingying, who vanished from the quiet streets of a small US city three weeks ago, local US media reported.

The woman, who was a visiting scholar at the University of Illinios, is now believed to be dead.

Brendt Christensen, 27, was arrested on Friday after being under surveillance by the FBI.

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On his charge sheet, the intelligence agency stated that Christensen had been overheard on Thursday explaining that he kidnapped Zhang.

An FBI press release said that, “based on this, and other facts uncovered during the investigation of this matter, law enforcement agents believe that Ms. Zhang is no longer alive”.

Zhang, 26, went missing on June 9, about a month into a year-long assignment at the university’s Urbana-Champaign campus where she was researching photosynthesis and crop productivity, Associated Press reported at the time. Her friends told police that she had gone out to sign a lease on an apartment.

We will forgive you, but please let her go, father of missing Chinese student Zhang Yingying begs kidnapper

She was last seen alive on footage from security cameras getting into the passenger seat of a black Saturn Astra hatchback in Urbana, police said earlier.

The FBI said they located the vehicle and its link to Christensen on Tuesday.