Yingying Zhang’s boyfriend, Xiaolin Hou, makes statement regarding anniversary of disappearance


Brian Bauer

Yingying Zhang’s family and boyfriend speak to The Daily Illini from their house on October 27. Saturday marks the one-year anniversary of Zhang’s alleged kidnapping.

By Jessica Bursztynsky, Staff Writer

Ahead of Saturday’s memorial, missing visiting scholar Yingying Zhang’s boyfriend Xiaolin Hou shared a statement with The Daily Illini through WeChat. The text is translated from Chinese.

“What we want to say the most is still thank you; to the work of the police and the DA, to the consulate, the school and all the nice people who have been helping us and caring for us along the way throughout this whole year. We will forever remember all the things everybody has done for Yingying and for us.

Secondly, our biggest hope will forever be to find Yingying and to bring her home. We hope the police won’t stop searching and we hope people will continue paying attention to and providing clues. We will never give up unless we find Yingying. No matter where she is right now, we believe we will be reunited one day.

Aside from that, I want to ask all the students studying abroad to be careful. Please learn to be careful and take care of yourselves when you’re away from home and keep your families from worrying.”

Zhang, 26, was reportedly kidnapped June 9, 2017 and is presumed dead. Security footage last placed Zhang around 2 p.m. entering a black Saturn Astra, allegedly driven by former University physics student Brendt Christensen, 28, on North Goodwin Avenue.

Christensen was placed in police custody on June 30, 2017 and is awaiting trial, set for April 2, 2019. He’s facing the death penalty if found guilty of federal kidnapping resulting in death.

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