ABC ’20/20’ brings into focus the kidnapping and murder of a Chinese scholar named Yingying Zhang who went missing on 9 June 2017. The horrific details of her death were made public when Brendt Christensen was caught on an audiotape, talking about how he killed Zhang and then disposed of her body, stating that her family would never find her.
While the case was put to rest in court, the same cannot be said for Zhang’s family who continue to live the loss of their daughter, as stated by them, was ‘their pride and joy.’ Based on the statements made by Christensen to federal prosecutors in exchange for immunity, he butchered her body in three separate garbage bags and put them in the dumpster outside his apartment. After this, he allegedly disposed her personal items, around the Champaign-Urbana area.
Was Yingying Zhang’s Body Ever Found?
Unfortunately, no. The investigators said that even with the information provided by Christensen, the recovery of Zhang’s body will be tough. In August 2019, Zhang’s family was notified of the potential site of Zhang’s remains by the prosecutors. This is based on the information given by Christensen’s defense lawyers. The potential site was alleged to be a landfill in Vermilion County, along the Illinois-Indiana border.
As per Zhang’s family lawyer’s statements, the contents of the dumpster were taken to Danville, where it was compacted twice. And thus, even though they said that the FBI is probably looking into it, they did state that it would be quite challenging a process. Steve Beckett, Zhang’s family lawyer said, “It is evident that any attempt to recover Yingying’s remains would be complicated and expensive, would require government oversight and the cooperation of the landfill owners, and would have no certainty of success…(Federal investigators) described for us that at this stage, with decomposition and then compaction, the size of the remains could be smaller than a cellphone.”
Yingying’s father, Ronggao ZhangIf, upon hearing this, later said, “If what that man said is true, it further confirms that he is a heartless and evil person… We now understand that finding (Yingying) may be impossible.” After this news came to light, a memorial service was held for those grieving the death of Yingying Zhang at a church outside Champaign in August 2019.
In addition to this, a memorial stone with Zhang’s name was placed on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Thus, Zhang’s family continues to mourn Zhang’s death without even the smallest comfort of being able to lay her body to rest. (Feature Image Credit: ABC 20/20)
Read More: Where is Brendt Christensen Today?