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Prosecutors: Kidnapping suspect attended victim’s vigil


    Brendt Christensen, the suspect in the kidnapping of visiting University of Illinois Chinese scholar Yingying Zhang. At Christensen’s first court appearance at federal court in Urbana, Ill., Monday, July 3, 2017, a judge ordered Christensen held without bond. Authorities said facts in the case indicate the Zhang is dead, although her body hasn’t been found.

CHICAGO >> Prosecutors say the suspect in the kidnapping of a University of Illinois scholar from China attended a vigil for the victim a day before his arrest and spoke about how she resisted.

A statement from Springfield’s U.S. attorney’s office followed a Wednesday detention hearing in Urbana for 28-year-old Brendt Christensen. A judge ordered he remain jailed because he’s potentially dangerous.

Prosecutors said 26-year-old Yingying Zhang fought Christensen as he abducted her June 9. Prosecutors say Christensen also spoke about what makes an ideal victim. Prosecutors didn’t explain to whom Christensen made the comments.

Agents arrested him Friday. Attendees at Thursday’s vigil also walked to the street where Zhang was last seen. Authorities believe Zhang is dead, though her body hasn’t been found.

A message left for Christensen’s lawyer wasn’t returned.

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