Suspect pleads not guilty in kidnapping of Chinese scholar
URBANA, Ill. (AP) — A 28-year-old man charged in the abduction of a University of Illinois scholar from China has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Brendt Christensen is accused of kidnapping 26-year-old Yingying Zhang on June 9 in Urbana. He is a recent graduate student in physics at the university.
Under questioning Thursday by U.S. Magistrate Judge Eric Long, Christensen revealed he is taking Klonopin “as an anti-depressant.”
Christensen said the medication did not affect his ability to understand the charges against him.
Investigators say Zhang was abducted after she left campus to sign an apartment lease. They believe Christensen lured her into his car.
Investigators have said they believe Zhang is dead, although her body hasn’t been found.
Zhang’s disappearance has sparked heated discussion on Chinese social media on the efficiency of the U.S. legal system, as well as the general safety of America.
The judge set a Sept. 12 trial date for Christensen.