Metro-East News

FBI investigating missing Chinese scholar as kidnapping

Yingying Zhang
Yingying Zhang

The FBI has reclassified the disappearence of a visiting scholar from China at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign as a kidnapping, according to The Associated Press.

Yingying Zhang, 26, was reported missing June 9. She was last seen getting into a black Saturn Astra just after she get off a bus in Urbana.

Zhang, who is from Jianyang, China, was about a month into a yearlong appointment researching photosynthesis and crop productivity at the University of Illinois. Her friends told police she had gone out to sign an apartment lease, according to the AP. Campus police told the AP that the FBI labeled the case as a kidnapping, but that they weren’t ruling out anything.

At least four FBI agents are in Urbana working on the case, examining cellphone records and working with ride-hailing companies to see if she may have called for a driver.

The FBI plans to post information about Zhang on billboards across Illinois, Indianapolis and St. Louis, the AP reported.