UPDATE 11-July-17: It is being reported that authorities have concluded that Yingying Zhang was not in Salem, IL.
“Salem Police Detective Bryan Green . . . traveled to Champaign Tuesday to meet with the parents of 26-year-old Yingying Zhang to show them video surveillance of the woman who apparently had been mistaken for her daughter. Green says they were able to see the woman in the video was not their daughter.”
The FBI has already stated that they believe missing student Yingying Zhang is no longer alive. Authorities do not make this statement lightly.
However, many have expressed their hope that she may still be alive.
” Multiple individuals in Salem are reporting encounters with a University of Illinois scholar from China” which is a two hour drive south west from Urbana, IL where she was last seen on security camera getting into Brendt Christensen’s car on June 9, 2017.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for mistaken identities to occur in well-publicized searches like this one.
Today there has been a boost in the speculation that Yingying may be alive. Chinese born U.S. forensic scientist Henry Chang-Yu Lee is quoted in a message on Facebook urging the FBI to “make every effort to find clues” about Yingying Zhang’s location. Lee states that most suspects like Christensen will hide the victim somewhere. Lee also mentions the possibility that the abductor could have an accomplice ‘caring’ for Yingying.
Christensen was photographed at a vigil for Yingying with another woman. He and a woman in a black blouse and flower pattern skirt were captured on video walking with the demonstrators.