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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Central District of Illinois

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Status Update: U.S. v. Brendt A. Christensen

URBANA, Ill. – During today’s court hearing, which lasted approximately 25 minutes, U.S. Magistrate Judge Eric I. Long found that the government satisfied its burden to show that defendant, Brendt A. Christensen, presents both a danger to the community and the risk of non-appearance at future court proceedings. Judge Long therefore ordered that Christensen be detained pending trial in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.


Christensen, 28, of Champaign, Ill., was arrested on June 30, 2017, and charged with kidnapping visiting Chinese scholar Yingying Zhang on June 9, 2017.


According to statements made by the government during today’s hearing, the government alleges that Christensen attended and walked in a vigil for the victim on June 29; has made statements about the characteristics of the ideal victim; that the victim fought and resisted; and, that he made a threat to another person to whom he made incriminating statements.


The FBI, the University of Illinois Police Department, the Illinois State Police and local law enforcement are investigating this case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Bryan D. Freres and Eugene L. Miller and prosecuting the case.


Members of the public are reminded that a complaint is merely an accusation; the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.


Violent Crime
Updated July 5, 2017