FBI Believes Missing Illinois Student Was Kidnapped

$50K reward offered in search for visiting scholar
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 20, 2017 3:03 AM CDT
FBI Believes Missing Illinois Student Was Kidnapped
This photo provided by The University of Illinois Police Department shows Yingying Zhang.   (Courtesy of the University of Illinois Police Department via AP)

The Champaign County, Illinois, branch of Crime Stoppers is offering the biggest reward in its history in the search for a visiting student from China who disappeared more than a week ago. Yingying Zhang, a 26-year-old who was a month into a yearlong appointment at the University of Illinois, was last seen getting into a black Saturn Astra at the Urbana-Champaign campus around 2pm on June 9, NBC News reports. The FBI is treating the case as a suspected kidnapping and is offering a $10,000 reward in addition to the $40,000 Crime Stoppers is offering for information leading to an arrest. Friends say she was on the way to sign a lease for a new apartment, but told the building manager that she was running late.

Zhang is described as 5'4", 110 lbs, and was last seen wearing a charcoal-colored baseball hat, pink-and-white top, jeans, and white tennis shoes. Crime Stoppers President John Hecker says the record reward was raised with the help of a GoFundMe page. "We have never offered a reward of this magnitude," he tells the News-Gazette. "But this is obviously a very heinous case." He says they are hoping for information including the identity of the Astra driver. The UI Chinese Students and Scholars Association has been helping to support Zhang's father, boyfriend, and aunt, who have flown in from China to assist the search. (Read more kidnapping stories.)

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