$40000 reward offered for information in scholar kidnapping

Modesto Morganelli
Giugno 20, 2017

Yingying Zhang, a 26-year-old who was a month into a yearlong appointment at the University of IL, was last seen getting into a black Saturn Astra at the Urbana-Champaign campus around 2pm on June 9, NBC reports.

With Yingying Zhang's family members on hand, officials announced a $40,000 reward for information leading to the arrest in the disappearance of the University of IL scholar visiting from China.

Yingying Zhang, 26, was last seen stepping into a vehicle at the edge of the campus in Urbana-Champaign on June 9, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

UIPD released video footage of Zhang entering a black Saturn Astra on Goodwin Ave.in Urbana.

At a news conference Monday, officials with Champaign County Crimestoppers emphasized the significance of the reward. The license plate and year of the vehicle are unknown. The reward money came at the request of Zhang's family and was raised from community donations via a humanitarian-assistance account and GoFundMe page set up by the U of I Community Credit Union.

Cops said rideshare companies, such as Uber and Lyft, have been contacted.

Detectives have also probed reports of a similar black vehicle attempting to lure young women into their auto but it's unclear if it's related.

Zhang's friends informed the police that she was heading to an apartment complex in Urbana to sign a lease after about one month into a year-long appointment at the UIUC campus.

Zhang was working in the university's Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, researching photosynthesis and crop productivity.

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