Suspect pleads not guilty in kidnapping of Chinese scholar

World Today

This photo provided by the Macon County Sheriff’s Office in Decatur, Ill., shows Brendt Christensen, the suspect in the kidnapping of visiting University of Illinois Chinese scholar Yingying Zhang. At Christensen’s first court appearance at federal court in Urbana, Ill., Monday, July 3, 2017, a judge ordered Christensen held without bond. Authorities said facts in the case indicate the Zhang is dead, although her body hasn’t been found. (Macon County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

A 28-year-old man charged in the abduction of a University of Illinois scholar from China has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Brendt Christensen is accused of kidnapping 26-year-old Yingying Zhang on June 9 in Urbana, 140 miles (225 kilometers) southwest of Chicago. He is a recent graduate student in physics at the university.

Under questioning Thursday by U.S. Magistrate Judge Eric Long, Christensen revealed he is taking Klonopin “as an anti-depressant.”

Christensen said the medication did not affect his ability to understand the charges against him.

Investigators say Zhang was abducted after she left campus to sign an apartment lease. They believe Christensen lured her into his car.

Investigators have said they believe Zhang is dead, although her body hasn’t been found.

The judge set a Sept. 12 trial date for Christensen.

Read the Indictment of Christensen

Read the complaint for Christensen

Story by The Associated Press