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Suspect in Illinois student kidnapping case was a UW graduate

Posted at 4:36 PM, Jul 02, 2017
A 28-year-old man held in the kidnapping of a visiting scholar from China graduated from the University of Wisconsin, according to AP reports.
 
Brendt Allen Christensen of Champaign, Illinois, was charged Friday with kidnapping 26-year-old Yingying Zhang, who went missing June 9 from the University of Illinois campus. Authorities now believe Zhang is dead, though they say her body has not been found.
 
Christensen, of Champaign, Illinois, is in federal custody pending a court appearance scheduled for Monday.
 
His LinkedIn profile states he is a PhD candidate in physics at the University of Illinois campus in central Illinois and has been a graduate teaching assistant at the university since 2013. Christensen's LinkedIn profile also states he graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2013.
 
Christensen earned a master's degree in physics from the University in Illinois in May and was no longer enrolled. Spokeswoman Robin Kaler says Brendt Christensen's "affiliation with the department" ended in May, though she did not explain why.