Grand jury indicts Champaign man on charge of kidnapping student Yingying Zhang

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URBANA, Illinois– A federal grand jury has indicted Brendt Christensen, 28, in the kidnapping of University of Illinois student Yingying Zhang on June 9, 2017.

Christensen was previously arrested and charged by criminal complaint on June 30. Wednesday’s indictment confirms that decision, charging Christensen with kidnapping Zhang, while she was waiting for her bus on the U of I campus.

RELATED: FBI investigating possible sighting of Yingying Zhang

Indictments indicate a grand jury agrees there’s enough evidence to justify a charge.

Investigators say Zhang was abducted on her way to sign an apartment lease. They allege that Christensen lured her into his car. After Christensen’s June 30 arrest, investigators said they believe Zhang is dead but hadn’t found her body. The FBI, University of Illinois Police Department, and the Illinois State Police are continuing their investigation.

RELATED: University of Illinois increases campus security following kidnapping

The indictment means a preliminary hearing set for Friday is canceled. An arraignment date will be set in coming days.

If convicted, Christensen could face up to life in prison.

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