University of Illinois Visiting Scholar Yingying Zhang May Have Been Kidnapped at Clark and Goodwin, Urbana


A visiting scholar Yingying Zhang from China was last seen getting into a black vehicle (Saturn Astra) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus. CBS 2’s Lauren Victory reports.

The University of Illinois Police Department is searching for Yingying Zhang, a 26-year-old visiting scholar who has been missing since Friday afternoon June 9, 2017. A surveillance video from the University of Illinois B-4 parking garage facility, just east of the Beckman Institute shows Yingying Zhang entering a black Saturn Astra on the east side of Goodwin Avenue in Urbana near the intersection of Clark Street and Goodwin Avenue. The camera is facing southbound and the black Saturn Astra is positioned northbound before, during and after the initial encounter with Yingying Zhang, who is seated in the front passenger seat as the black Saturn Astra passes the camera northbound on Goodwin Avenue.

The B-4 parking garage is at the far northeast corner of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus. A camera from the B-22 parking garage across the street also captured an image of the suspect’s vehicle — showing the right side of the vehicle.

Yingying Zhang is seen entering a northbound black Saturn Astra on the east side of Goodwin Avenue in Urbana. The surveillance video was provided by University of Illinois police from the B-4 parking garage.

Detectives have used vehicle records to identify a number of registered owners of the type of vehicle in the video, and they continue to speak to those owners.

There have been reports of a black sedan driving in the area with the male driver posing as an undercover officer, and trying to lure women into his car. Since Yingying Zhang disappeared, police have spoken to at least one person who reported that incident, and have gathered what police call “valuable information” about that encounter. Police report they do not have information that provides a definitive connection, but a connection has not been ruled it out.

Investigators continue to utilize image enhancing technology available through the FBI. Information about the search is being shared widely, reaching more than 1 million people on social media, on billboards throughout the state, and through media both locally and throughout the country. The FBI has posted the surveillance video of the encounter with the black Saturn Astra on the official FBI YouTube channel.

The University of Illinois Police Department has released still images and video, seeking help community members that might contribute to the investigation. The University of Illinois Police urges any citizens with information regarding these photos, vehicle information, the incident, or anything else to call 911 or contact the University of Illinois Police Department at 217-333-1216. Non-emergency information may also be emailed to [email protected].

Yingying Zhang outside bus University of Illinois

Yingying Zhang Inside Teal bus line 1:35 p.m. June 9 2017Yingying Zhang Inside Teal bus line 1:35 p.m. June 9 2017, and the shirt she was wearing.

File Photo of backpack Yingying Zhang possessed on June 9 2017File Photo of backpack Yingying Zhang possessed on June 9 2017.

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Yingying Zhang backpack black shirt

Actual Suspect Vehicle Yingying Zhang KidnappingActual Suspect Vehicle Yingying Zhang Kidnapping captured from University of Illinois Parking Garage B-4 at Goodwin Avenue and Clark Street.

2008 Saturn Astra XE file photo
File photo of a white Saturn Astra by Mr.choppersOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

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