Ying Ying Zhang, an exchange student from China who came to the U.S. to study at the University of Illinois in Champaign, IL, was last seen on Friday, June 9, 2017. She was running late to a meeting with her housing manager and is seen on video surveillance attempting to catch a bus. After failing to find a ride, a black Saturn Astra passes Zhang before circling back around. The driver appears to incite a conversation with Zhang and then she gets in the car. Since there were only 18 Saturn Astras with four-doors registered in Champaign, IL, the FBI were able to quickly pin Brendt Christensen to the kidnapping. The passenger door of Christensen’s car seemed to have been cleaned recently, as opposed to the condition of the other three doors.
At first, Christensen claimed to have forgotten what he was doing on that Sunday and guessed he was home playing video games, but he later changed his story, saying that he was driving around campus and recalled seeing Zhang standing at the curb.
In his most recent story, Christensen explains how he kidnapped Zhang and held her in his home against her will; however, at this time, the FBI have been unable to locate Zhang’s body, they assume she is deceased.
The most terrifying discovery in this story, is what the FBI found when they sifted through Christensen’s search history. Apparently, the grad student had visited an online forum called “Abduction 101” which consisted of threads like “Perfect abduction fantasy” and “planning a kidnapping”.
The possibility that there could be online communities dedicated to the abduction of innocent people is absolutely disgusting. At least 70 movies have been made with a abduction or hostage premise which only further fuels an obsession regarding such a cruel subject.
Peers and teachers describe Christensen as quiet and helpful, no one suspected he could ever be capable of such a thing; however, this is a perfect example of how unsafe the world has become and how important it is to always be aware.
To learn more about Ying Ying’s story, click here.