Update: 10:00 pm, 6/27/17, Tuesday
CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) -- There's been a break in the case of missing UI scholar Yingying Zhang and people are relieved to know progress is being made to find her.
The FBI said they found the car which picked her up. Zhang was last seen getting into a black Saturn Astra, Friday, June 9, and now that car has been located. No details of where it was found or the whereabouts of Zhang.
The FBI isn't releasing any other information other than the fact they did find the car. They're not saying where it was found or if they were able to find the driver. But this is a big break in the case, and it's a big relief to people who have been searching for her.
"It has been a while since the police released some updates on the progress of the case."
18 days. That's how long Yingying Zhang has been missing. But now, the FBI found the car she was last seen getting into.
"Knowing that they have found the car is huge progress and we believe it is one step closer for her to come home."
But members of the Chinese Student Scholars Association at UI are still left wondering one thing.
"How soon do we expect to see Yingying? That's most important."
Students who have volunteered to help with the search for Zhang are not giving up. This is what's running through their minds.
"I thought of my parents immediately and if I were to disappear like that, and if my parents had to deal with that burden, I couldn't begin to know what my parents would think."
It's something which is disturbing for parents of UI students and their thoughts are with the Zhang family.
"My three daughters had each traveled abroad and studied in a foreign country and internationally and what that would be like to be the parent and receive that news."
Finding the car Zhang was last seen in is the good news they've been waiting for. Now what they say is most important is finding her.
"We've been missing you so much. Just come home we are all waiting for you."
The FBI says they're not releasing any other information because it's still an active investigation, but they say they've developed several additional leads on the case and continue to ask the public for information leading to Zhang.
Thursday, there will be a campus walk and a concert for Zhang. It's open to anyone who wants to support her. The walk will start at Krannert Center and end on North Goodwin Avenue, the street where Zhang was last seen.
Tuesday, people from all over Champaign gathered at UI to make banners for the event.
"Think of all the students that are from all over. It's just so important that our town, more than any town, reach out and to the students and their families and keep this message alive that we are constantly looking for her and thinking about her."
After the walk there will be a concert, where an orchestra will play some of Zhang's favorite Chinese music. The event starts at 6:30 pm, Thursday, at Krannert Center, on UI campus.
Original 3:10 pm, 6/27/2017, Tuesday
CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) -- The FBI has announced it's located the black Saturn Astra involved in the abduction of a UI scholar.
Yingying Zhang was last seen getting into a car with that description about 2:04 pm, Friday, June 9, near West Clark and North Goodwin.
Authorities say they no longer need any information regarding the vehicle from the public and state the investigation is active and ongoing.
Anyone with information is asked to call authorities. You may also contact your local FBI office or the nearest American Embassy or Consulate.
Crime Stoppers tipsters are always 100% completely anonymous. All tips submitted to Crime Stoppers are electronically stripped of any personally identifying information and processed by a third-party answering service, not law enforcement. Cash rewards of up to $1,000 are paid for information leading to an arrest.
Tipsters will never be asked their name and are given a secret code number to use when checking on a possible reward.
The FBI is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the location of Yingying Zhang.
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