CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Champaign County Crime Stoppers will announce Friday that the reward for information about missing scholar Yingying Zhang’s whereabouts will be raised to $50,000 in the hope that new information could aid the ongoing investigation. The reward money comes from community donations to an online fundraising effort, and the increased reward is at the request of Zhang’s family.
A news conference has been scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday in the auditorium of the Illinois Fire Service Institute, 11 Gerty Drive, Champaign. News media attending the event are asked to park in the visitor's lot, which is the first section on the eastern edge of the IFSI parking surface.
The Zhang family and representatives from Champaign County Crime Stoppers are scheduled to make statements but will be unable to address the ongoing investigation.
Zhang, a 26-year-old visiting scholar at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from China, was reported missing June 9. Police have arrested 28-year-old Brendt Christensen for her kidnapping, but Zhang’s location is unknown. The FBI has said it believes she is deceased.
Federal prosecutors said Christensen was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury on a criminal charge related to Zhang’s abduction. He remains in custody.