The next time Brendt Christensen, the man accused of kidnapping U of I Scholar Yingying Zhang, will be in court is on February 27th, 2018. Until then the search for Zhang will continue.
Defense lawyers for Christensen asked to delay the trial to review additional evidence. The trial was set to begin September 12th.
Christensen is accused of kidnapping Zhang after she went missing on campus the afternoon of June 9th, 2017. Zhang was captured on security video entering a black Saturn Astra on the U of I campus. This was the last time anyone has seen or heard from her.
After the disappearance, FBI detectives traced the owner of the Saturn Astra to Christensen and interviewed him. He admitted to picking up a woman, but said he let her out of the vehicle. The FBI began surveillance of Christensen and recorded suspicious statements. Christensen was also photographed attending Zhang’s vigil on June 29th on the U of I campus. Christensen was arrested the next day, and awaits trial in Urbana.
Zhang’s family has traveled from China to support their daughter. While Zhang is still missing, her family continues to hope for the best and are planning to launch a private investigation. You can donate to the family here: https://www.gofundme.com/missing-u-of-i-scholar
Christensen plead “not guilty” to the charges, and is being held in FBI custody. The University Police regularly update information about the search and ways to show support: http://police.illinois.edu/search-updates/