CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — People across the globe are reacting to the latest in the case of a missing U of I scholar, Yingying Zhang. The 26-year-old visiting from China went missing on June 9.
Surveillance video shows her getting into a black Saturn Astra that afternoon. The FBI has since found that car — they say it belongs to Brendt Christensen. He was arrested Friday. His phone records revealed searches about how to kidnap someone –and FBI agents say they believe he held Zhang hostage in his apartment.
“I think it’s really crazy, and as far as me being safe, it’s kind of scary that I have to walk around hearing that that happened to someone around the age of me. It’s kind of terrifying.”
“You want to believe it’s great people out here — not just good people — it’s great people out here. So when you hear about stuff like that happening to good people, it’s like, what direction is the world heading in? That’s what I ask myself.”
Some from outside central Illinois are also on edge. One visiting Chinese scholar, who got here last week and didn’t want to give her name, said Zhang’s disappearance is giving people in China second thoughts.
“They’re concerned with the safety in the U.S., and they’re talking about whether it’s safe to study in this university.”
Beyond the effect that would have on Champagn- Urbana — everyone seems to be hoping for one thing.
“I just really want them to find her. I’m just praying for her and her family that she actually is alive.”
As of right now, the FBI says they believe Zhang is dead — but they haven’t said whether they know where she is. Christensen will appear in federal court on Monday.