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FBI uses UI’s campus cameras to investigate missing student

Mugshot for Brendt Christensen, the man accused of kidnapping University of Illinois scholar YingYing Zhang.

URBANA, Ill. – Investigators say surveillance cameras at the University of Illinois helped find a suspect in the disappearance of a Chinese scholar.

The News-Gazette reports the footage showed Yingying Zhang getting into a black Saturn Astra before she disappeared on June 9 in Urbana. The video was made public after Zhang was reported missing.

An FBI affidavit says the vehicle’s license plate wasn’t legible, but that the footage showed the vehicle had a cracked hubcap. The affidavit says that helped investigators distinguish it from the other vehicles of that model registered in Champaign County.

Investigators determined the vehicle belonged to former graduate student Brendt Christensen. He was arrested June 30.

FBI officials have presumed Zhang dead, but the agency says the investigation is ongoing.

Christensen remains jailed pending trial.