Kid­nap sus­pect charged; Chi­nese ‘heart­bro­ken’

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By WANG LINYAN in New York

The Chi­nese con­sulate in Chicago is ask­ing for a thor­ough in­ves­ti­ga­tion and swift jus­tice in the case of a Chi­nese scholar, Zhang Yingy­ing, 26, who is feared dead af­ter an ap­par­ent kid­nap­ping.

“We are shocked and heart­bro­ken about what hap­pened to Zhang,” said Hong Lei, China’s con­sul gen­eral in Chicago, adding that the feel­ings are shared by all Chi­nese peo­ple.

Brendt Chris­tensen, 28, was for­mally charged in US fed­eral court on Fri­day with kid­nap­ping Zhang more than three weeks ago.

Ac­cord­ing to an af­fi­davit, FBI agents, who had Chris­tensen un­der sur­veil­lance af­ter iden­ti­fy­ing his ve­hi­cle, overheard him ex­plain­ing that he kid­napped Zhang on June 9.

“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 state­ment by the US Depart­ment of Jus­tice said.

The crim­i­nal com­plaint said Chris­tensen had read about kid­nap­ping on a fetish-ori­ented so­cial net­work­ing web­site, Fet Life. It said po­lice found that the part of Chris­tensen’s car where Zhang was be­lieved to have been sit­ting had been cleaned.

Hong, the con­sul gen­eral, vis­ited mem­bers of Zhang’s fam­ily on Satur­day morn­ing, ex­press­ing con­do­lences and promis­ing sup­port.

Zhang’s boyfriend, Hou Xiaolin, said the most ur­gent thing is to find Zhang quickly, and he ex­pressed hope that those re­spon­si­ble will be given harsh pun­ish­ment.

Zhang, a grad­u­ate of Pek­ing Univer­sity, was con­duct­ing re­search at the Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources and En­vi­ron­men­tal Sciences at Univer­sity of Illi­nois at Ur­bana-Cham­paign. She was liv­ing in univer­sity hous­ing.

She was re­ported miss­ing on June 9, when she was sup­posed to see a prospec­tive land­lord.

Her last phone ac­tiv­ity was at 1:30 pm that day — a call in which she told the land­lord she was run­ning late and would not be there un­til around 2:10, local me­dia re­ported.

Zhang’s fa­ther and other fam­ily mem­bers ar­rived at the univer­sity from China in mid-June.

Chris­tensen, will re­main in cus­tody pend­ing his ini­tial court ap­pear­ance in Ur­bana, which is sched­uled for Mon­day at 10 am.

An as­so­ciate chan­cel­lor of the univer­sity, Robin Kaler, said on Satur­day that Chris­tensen had earned a master’s de­gree in physics from the Univer­sity of Illi­nois in May, and that “his af­fil­i­a­tion with the depart­ment ended that same month”, ac­cord­ing to The As­so­ci­ated Press. Chris­tensen’s LinkedIn pro­file on­line states that he is a PhD can­di­date in physics at the univer­sity and has been a grad­u­ate teach­ing as­sis­tant there since 2013, the AP re­ported.

Zhang Yingy­ing: Chi­nese scholar has been miss­ing more than three weeks

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