Family told dead U of I Chinese scholar’s body may be in landfill

Yingying Zhang, 26 (University of Illinois Police)

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The family of a visiting Chinese scholar whose body was never recovered after a former University of Illinois doctoral student kidnapped and killed her has been told the woman’s remains may be in a landfill in Vermillion County in central Illinois.

The (Champaign) News-Gazette reports that Steve Beckett, who represents the family of Yingying Zhang, says the information about the remains comes from attorneys representing Brendt Christensen. He was convicted in federal court last month and sentenced to life in prison after prosecutors sought the death penalty.

Since Christensen was arrested after Zhang’s 2017 disappearance, Zhang’s family has repeatedly urged Christensen to reveal what he did with the body so they could return it to China for burial. But Christensen didn’t disclose that information through his trial and sentencing.


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