ew evidence has been put forward in the case of Chinese scholar Zhang Yingying in the form of blood and gore discovered in the apartment of her suspected kidnapper and killer.
Zhang, 26, disappeared on the afternoon of June 9th, 2017 from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus. After telling friends that she was going to sign a lease on an apartment, she was seen on surveillance camera entering a black Saturn Astra near a bus stop. She was not seen again.
The FBI later tracked the vehicle to Brendt Christensen, a former university graduate student who was 28 at the time, placing him under surveillance.
At first, Christensen told the FBI that on the day of Zhang’s disappearance he was inside his apartment all day, sleeping and playing video games. However, a few days later, he changed his story, admitting that while driving his car on campus he had picked up an Asian woman who said she was late for an appointment, but claiming that the woman had quickly jumped out of his vehicle inside a residential area after he made a wrong turn.
While he was under surveillance, police heard Christensen say on an audio recording that he had kidnapped Zhang and held her in his apartment against her will. When they later checked his phone, they found searches to a forum called “Abduction 101” with visits to subthreads titled “Perfect abduction fantasy” and “planning a kidnapping.”
Before being arrested, Christensen was spotted attending a vigil for Zhang at the university campus.
On Wednesday, prosecutors released a series of filings with evidence that they say will help prove that Christensen kidnapped and murdered Zhang. That evidence includes handprint-shaped bloodstains which Christensen allegedly didn’t manage to completely scrub away.
Other evidence includes Zhang’s DNA being found in Christensen’s apartment, the possible presence of more blood in Christensen’s bedroom, bathroom, and mattress, and a cadaver-sniffing dog that detected traces of a dead body in the bathroom. Zhang’s body has never been found.
Christensen’s defense team is seeking to get all of this forensic evidence thrown out. His trial is scheduled to start on April 1st, prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.