Illinois kidnapping suspect charged
CHICAGO — A man has been charged with kidnapping a visiting University of Illinois scholar from China whom authorities believe to be dead after she disappeared three weeks ago. A federal criminal complaint says the suspect’s phone was used in April to visit an online forum called “Abduction 101.”
Federal authorities say Brendt Christensen, 28, of Champaign, Ill., was charged Friday in the June 9 disappearance of Yingying Zhang, 26. A criminal complaint accuses him of abducting Zhang shortly after she stepped off a bus near the university campus. Video from cameras around the area shows Zhang, who was on her way to sign a lease for an apartment, trying unsuccessfully to flag down another bus. Minutes later, she is seen getting into the front seat of a black Saturn Astra.
According to the 10-page affidavit filed in federal court by FBI Special Agent Anthony Manganaro, Christensen was under surveillance Thursday when agents overheard him saying he had kidnapped Zhang. Authorities said agents believe Zhang is no longer alive.