Illinois man charged with kidnapping, death of Chinese scholar

CHICAGO (Reuters) – An Illinois man accused of abducting a Chinese language visiting scholar on the College of Illinois faces a brand new cost of kidnapping leading to demise and was arraigned on Wednesday.

Yingying Zhang, a 26-yr-previous visiting scholar from southeastern China on the College of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, disappeared on June 9. Officers consider Zhang is lifeless, though no physique has been discovered.

Brendt Christensen, a former grasp’s scholar on the college, faces one rely of kidnapping leading to dying and two counts of creating a false assertion to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, based on an Oct. three indictment, which alleged the crime “concerned torture or critical bodily abuse to the sufferer.”

Christensen pleaded not responsible to all fees, the U.S. district clerk’s workplace in Urbana, Illinois stated on Wednesday. A lawyer for Christensen declined remark.

Beforehand Christensen, 28, was charged with one rely of kidnapping and pleaded not responsible in July.

Zhang, who had been learning photosynthesis and crop productiveness on the college, was final seen when a safety digital camera recorded her getting right into a black automotive that authorities linked to Christensen, in line with courtroom paperwork.

Christensen was positioned underneath surveillance by federal brokers who heard him speaking about how he kidnapped Zhang, courtroom data stated.

A jury trial is scheduled for Feb. 27, the clerk’s workplace stated. Conviction of kidnapping leading to dying carries a sentence of obligatory life in jail or dying.

In August, Zhang’s household requested President Donald Trump to offer further assets to assist discover her.

A lawyer for Zhang’s household didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.

The brand new indictment additionally stated Christensen informed FBI brokers that he stayed at his house, slept and performed video video games all day on June 9. The indictment stated that was a lie and that he had picked up Zhang as she waited for a bus.

Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales; Modifying by Cynthia Osterman

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