REPORT: Brendt Christensen in Photos at Yingying Zhang Vigil

brendt christensen

Facebook Brendt Christensen.

Kidnapping suspect Brendt Christensen attended a vigil in support of missing University of Illinois scholar, Yingying Zhang, according to The News Gazette.

Social media users have been circulating photos of the walk for Zhang and pointing out the resemblance a man in the crowd bears to Christensen, who stands accused of abducting the still missing graduate student from China. The FBI said in an affidavit charging Christensen that authorities believe Zhang is dead.

The News Gazette reported that it had learned that Christensen “attended a Thursday evening walk held by in support of Ms. Zhang outside the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts even as he was under surveillance by police.” However, when asked about the photos, the FBI declined to comment, according to the newspaper.

Video also surfaced:

A prosecutor told the court on July 5 that Christensen was recorded at the rally by authorities and “explained the characteristics of his ideal victim” and, according to CNN, “pointed out those in the crowd who matched them at a vigil he attended for the missing woman.” The person recording Christensen was not identified. However, the prosecutor also alleged in court that Christensen threatened a person on a recording who provided incriminating information against him, CNN reported. In one recording, Christensen is accused of saying that “Zhang fought him, and that he took her back to his apartment and held her there against her will last month,” CNN reported. The judge has denied bail for Christensen.

The man who looks like Christensen is also seen wearing black in the top right of photos.

Here’s another view:

And another:

Here’s the original photo post from the walk:

You can see a closer view of the photo here.

Here’s a photo of Christensen from his Facebook page:

brendt christensen

FacebookBrendt Christensen.

Here he is with his wife (Heavy has blurred out her identity because she is not accused of any complicity in his alleged actions):

brendt christensen

FacebookBrendt Christensen with his wife.

Authorities have not found the 26-year-old Zhang, an environmental engineer who was in America studying crop production.

The News Gazette reported on July 3 that it had confirmed that Christensen, 28, attended the rally the day before his arrest and while he was already under police surveillance. In some of the photos, Christensen, who was married, is seen with an unidentified woman. Christensen’s wife has not made any comments on the arrest.

Christensen was, until recently, a PhD researcher and physics class teaching assistant at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, which is the same university that Zhang had come from China to attend. Zhang’s disappearance and possible death have deeply disturbed many in China and the United States, and the university community has rallied in support of her family and to find her.

Police handout photoYingying Zhang.

Zhang vanished on June 9 after failing to flag down a bus and after she was seen getting into a black Saturn vehicle that police now allege was driven by Christensen. The affidavit in the case accuses Christensen of admitting while under surveillance that he abducted Zhang. The affidavit also accuses Christensen of admitting to the FBI that Zhang had been in his vehicle, although he claimed she left it voluntarily.

According to the affidavit, Christensen’s mobile device had accessed fetish site threads, including one called “Abduction 101.”

Christensen is scheduled to appear in court for the first time on July 3. You can read more about him here: