Missing scholar’s alleged kidnapper has first court appearance


Community members walked to support Yingying Zhang, a Chinese visiting scholar who went missing on July 9. Alleged kidnapper Brendt Christensen appeared in court today and was not granted bond.

By Samantha Jones Toal, Brand Manager

Brendt Christensen, the 28-year-old former Physics student accused of kidnapping Yingying Zhang, will be held without bond at least until his next court date on July 15.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Eric Long ordered the decision in a hearing that lasted nine minutes, as a large crowd gathered outside with signs saying things like “Justice for Yingying.” The court room was completely full.

According to Sharon Paul, spokeswoman from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Christensen could face life in prison if convicted of the crime of kidnapping.

Christensen has been charged by complaint, meaning the U.S. Attorney’s Office filed the charge.

On Wednesday at 3 p.m., Christensen will attend a detention hearing to decide if bail will be set and, if so, the amount.

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Wren Wheeling contributed to this report.