Chinese police sketch of suspect said to be close to man in custody

World Today

Composite of Christensen’s photo and sketches. (Photo: The People’s Daily)

A early sketch of the alleged suspect who kidnapped University of Illinois Visiting Scholar Yingying Zhang is said to be very similiar in appearance to Brendt Christensen, the man the FBI arrested for the crime.

Grainy footage police sketch artist Lin Yuhui received from U.S. authorities of the suspect car in the Yingying Zhang kidnapping case. (Photo: The People’s Daily)

According to a reports in the People’s Daily and China Daily, Lin Yuhui, a senior police sketch artist in East China’s Shandong province was able to draw images of the alleged kidnapper using a very grainy surveillance video.

Lin is a well-known sketch artist in China, and has been known to spot clues to compile remarkably accurate sketches of suspects based on blurry photos or grainy surveillance footage. He has sketched about 70,000 faces in his career, China Daily reports.

Lin had been following the case and asked U.S. authorities if he could assist. On June 17th, U.S. authorities sent Lin and three top Chinese video analysts video clips of the suspect.

The group analyzed the video frame by frame for two days, China Daily reported.

“This was not merely sketching. First you need to extract useful information from the video,” Lin told China Daily.

Lin said the video footage shoed a closed car window, which made it hard to see the suspect’s face.

“We watched the video a hundred times for two days,” Lin told the People’s Daily.

Lin drew the suspect’s eyes first, and then added hair and a beard based on the suspect’s age.

“He seemed around thirty years old, with a beard, sunken eyes, and a high nose,” Lin told the People’s Daily.

He the sketches to U.S. authorities via China’s consulate-general in Chicago on June 20th.

“They were amazed by my sketches, as they couldn’t deduce anything valuable from such a low-quality video,” he told People’s Daily.

After the FBI arrested Christensen on July 1st, one police officer told the attorney for Zhang’s family that Lin’s sketch was a very close.

Christensen will appear before a federal judge Wednesday in Urbana to determine if he can be released on bail pending the trial.

He is accused of abducting 26-year-old Zhang on June 9th. Authorities believe she’s dead, though her body hasn’t been found.

Christensen lives in Champaign, Illinois and has a master’s degree in physics from the University of Illinois. He previously lived in Stevens Point, Wisconsin,

If convicted, he would face a maximum life prison sentence.

Story by the People’s Daily and China Daily with information from the Associated Press.