Yingying Zhang’s family still without closure, three years after her death


URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — Today marks three years since a University of Illinois Chinese visiting scholar was last seen alive. She was kidnapped and killed by Brendt Christensen. 

The family’s attorney, Zhidong Wang, says he just talked to Zhang’s dad a few days ago. He says Zhang’s family still has no closure because her remains were never found and the FBI says the case is closed.

“Yingying’s desire was to further her education here in the U.S. and eventually to be a college professor. Her parents also depended on her to realize her dream and to provide some for their later years. All of those are gone,” said Wang.

Zhang’s estate filed a lawsuit against two UI social workers. The suit says the social workers didn’t report statements Christensen made about wanting to kill other people. The lawsuit was first filed in federal court, but was dismissed. It’s now in state court. The university filed a motion to dismiss, but it has not been ruled on yet.

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