Lawyers want trial delay to investigate Yingying Zhang sightings

Photo: Brendt Christensen (left); Yingying Zhang (right)

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Lawyers for the man charged with kidnapping and killing a visiting University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign scholar are asking for a delay in his trial to investigate purported sightings of the victim.

Yingying Zhang, 26, was last seen in Urbana on June 9. Surveillance cameras captured her getting into Brendt Christensen’s car.

The Chicago Tribune reports that Christensen’s attorneys said they were aware of “several purported sights” of Zhang around the country. They also said her accounts have been logged into since she went missing.

The attorneys also said they plan to run down reports that “unknown suspicious individuals” had been lurking around Zhang’s apartment around the time she went missing.

Her body has not been found and Christensen claims she got out of the vehicle a few blocks later. But prosecutors said he admitted to kidnapping her.

They’ve agreed to delay his trial, if U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions seeks the death penalty.