University of IL kidnapping suspect denied bail

Elias Hubbard
July 6, 2017

Prosecutors say the suspect in the kidnapping of a University of IL scholar from China attended a vigil for the victim a day before his arrest and spoke about how she resisted.

Christensen is being held in the Macon County Jail in Decatur.

Long called Christensen both a flight risk and a danger to the community because of evidence presented by US attorney Bryan Freres.

According to an affidavit filed in federal court by the FBI, on June 29, while Christensen was under law enforcement surveillance, agents overheard him explaining that he kidnapped Zhang.

Brendt Christensen, 27, was arrested on a criminal complaint for the kidnapping of Yingying Zhang on June 9, authorities said.

Zhang, from Jianyang, China, was working in the university's Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, researching photosynthesis and crop productivity, the AP reported.

The U.S. attorney's office statement said Christensen "made a threat to another person to whom he made incriminating statements". It didn't go into details.

Christensen is accused of luring Zhang into his vehicle as she was waiting for a bus in Urbana and then holding her hostage in his Champaign apartment.

Christensen's lawyer, Evan Bruno, didn't immediately respond to a message seeking comment on Wednesday. In April, his phone was allegedly used to view a forum called "Abduction 101" online.

Christensen graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2013.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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