Illinois Man to be Arraigned in Missing Chinese Scholar Case

Oct 11, 2017

A man accused in the abduction and killing of a University of Illinois scholar from China is to be arraigned on new charges.

Federal court records show that 28-year-old Brendt Christensen was to appear before a judge Wednesday afternoon. He previously was charged with abducting 26-year-old international student Yingying Zhang. But last week, a grand jury returned a superseding indictment charging him with kidnapping resulting in Zhang's death.

The new indictment alleges Christensen intentionally killed Zhang and that her death involved torture or serious physical abuse. If convicted of the charge, Christensen faces the death penalty or mandatory life in prison.

Zhang disappeared June 9, just weeks after arriving at the campus in Champaign in central Illinois. Even though her body hasn't been found, authorities believe Zhang is dead.