Missing Chinese scholar's family plans to leave U.S., trial delay pending

Updated 2017-11-12 12:01:57 chinaplus.cri.cn

The family of Zhang Yingying, a missing 26-year-old visiting Chinese scholar at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), has reportedly decided to return to China soon.

Zhang went missing on June 9 as she was heading to an apartment complex to sign a lease. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) later said they believe Zhang was kidnapped and is now dead.

According to the Chinese Consulate General in Chicago, Zhang's family plans to leave the United States on November 12.

Newspaper World Journal said that the family members are exhausted and depleted as the trial of the suspect Brendt A. Christensen may be delayed again.

Christensen's lawyers want to put off the trial, as they say they need more time to prepare a defense. They want the trial delayed until fall 2018.

They haven't received a final decision yet.

A federal grand jury charged Christensen with kidnapping resulting in death in October.

If convicted, he could face mandatory life in prison or even the death penalty, according to a Justice Department press release.

In the four-page indictment obtained by Xinhua News Agency, the grand jury said Christensen committed the offense "in an especially heinous, cruel or depraved manner," noting that he did it "after substantial planning and premeditation to cause the death of a person."

Christensen was previously charged with kidnapping Zhang on June 9. The superseding indictment by the federal grand jury adds the charge that Christensen's kidnapping resulted in Zhang's death.

Christensen was also charged with two counts of making false statements to FBI agents, which could result in five years in prison on each charge if convicted.

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