Man is Accused of the Kidnapping of Chinese University of Illinois Student

Kidnapping is a crime that shocks society and is treated with the full force of the law. In recent weeks the kidnapping and disappearance of a University of Illinois scholar from China has made headlines.

Yingying Zhang has been missing since June 9. Police have arrested Brendt Christensen over her disappearance.

Recently, the Sun-Times reported the suspect marched in a vigil for the victim.

Federal prosecutors said Christensen spoke about the characteristics of what makes an ideal victim and said he talked about how Zhang fought and resisted.


Fears rise over ‘kidnapping’ of Chinese student


New details concerning the disappearance of the 26-year-old came to light at a detention hearing for Christensen at U.S. District Court in Urbana close to the central Illinois school.

Judge Eric Long, a U.S. Magistrate, ordered that Christensen, 28, remain incarcerated pending trial. It was his opinion that the recent graduate student at the university’s physics department was a risk to the community and a flight risk.

Just a day before Christensen was arrested he was at a gathering on campus when people walked to the place the Chinese student was last seen.

Prosecutors said Christensen formed part of the vigil group that included Zhang’s father.

Zhang was abducted as she headed out to sign an apartment lease off campus in Urbana. Christensen is accused of luring her into his car after she got off one bus and attempted to flag down another bus. The Sun-Times report stated in April, his phone was allegedly used to view a forum called “Abduction 101.”

Kidnapping in Illinois is a Class 2 felony. Aggravated kidnapping is a Class X felony.

Under 720 ILCS 5/10-1, this crime occurs when a defendant knowingly and secretly confines another person against their will through the use of force, threat of force, enticement or deceit.  Kidnapping includes the confinement of someone who is mentally impaired and the confinement of a child less than 13 years of age without the consent of his or her parent.

Under Illinois law, a kidnapping becomes an aggravated kidnapping, if the perpetrator holds another person to obtain a ransom, inflicts body harm with a dangerous weapon and armed with firearms.  The kidnapping of a child under 13 years or a mentally retarded person also constitutes the offense of aggravated kidnapping.

If you have been charged with a kidnapping offense the consequences may be very serious. Call our Illinois criminal defense lawyers for a free consultation at (312) 229-0008.

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