First hearing reaction

Local News

URBANA — It was no small showing at the courtroom Monday.

Christensen’s hearing was not until 10 a.m., but people were showing up well before that to stand in support of the Zhang family.

Several people we spoke with said they’re shocked Zhang’s accused kidnapper lives right in this community, and even attended the march for her.

Now, some are worried there could be someone else out there with bad intentions.

The feeling was summed up in a simple chant: “justice for YingYing.”

Downtown Urbana was filled with pictures, posters, and dozens of people bearing messages of anger, confusion, and hope.

It was a large turnout for a case that’s shaken people all over the world.

“I got here around 8:45 and I saw a big crowd already here,” said supporter Zink Zhang (no relation to YingYing).

Like many others, Zink Zhang stood waiting for more than an hour, only to be turned away from a courtroom that filled up instantly after doors were opened.

At that point, the crowd decided instead of sitting in court, they’d stand and wait for justice.

“My first reaction is I truly feel confused because the whole hearing is so fast,” said Zink Zhang. “The whole thing is a judge saying oh you will be charged with this crime.”

While many of these people did not see Christensen in court…one man, who preferred not to be named, said he was right next to him just days before.

“I just couldn’t help myself. I was so shocked and terrified,” he said.

He was at the march for YingYing taking pictures, and when he was looking back through them, he said he found something disturbing.

“It seems that he was only, judging from the picture, he was only like 12 meters from me and it was surely him,” he said.

Now the waiting begins.

As courts decide Christensen’s fate, several questions remain.

“We really would like to know what happened to YingYing and how…when, or whether we still can find her,” said Kang Sun, who also came to support YingYing Zhang.

The FBI believes YinYing Zhang is dead, but still no word on where she might be.

Her family said she came to the U of I to study agriculture, and she wanted to be a higher education professor.

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