HomeCampusCharges Upgraded. Suspect Faces Death Penalty in Kidnapping of Illinois Student

Charges Upgraded. Suspect Faces Death Penalty in Kidnapping of Illinois Student

YingYing Zhang
YingYing Zhang

A federal grand jury has indicted the suspect in the kidnapping of University of Illinois student Yingying Zhang on charges of kidnapping resulting in a death.

The Chicago Tribune reports the four page indictment found that graduate student Brendt Christensen committed the “premeditated” offense “in an especially heinous, cruel or depraved manner, in that it involved torture or serious physical abuse to the victim.”

If convicted, Christensen could get the death penalty or life in prison.

The arrest in July of Christensen, who was spotted attending a candlelight vigil for Zhang, left many stunned.

“He was completely normal, there were no complaints about his teaching,” said his former academic adviser to the Shanghaist. “He was on the excellent teaching list, so he was well-reviewed by his students.”

Zhang disappeared on June 9th after going apartment hunting. She is seen on surveillance video getting into someone else’s car. She was never seen again and is presumed dead. Her body has never been found.
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