Authorities believe a young woman who disappeared near the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus was kidnapped.
Yingying Zhang, 26, was last seen by the campus in Urbana on June 9. Surveillance video obtained by police shows Zhang getting into a black Saturn Astra hatchback around 2 p.m.
“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,” the University of Illinois Police Department wrote on its website.
Zhang, a visiting scholar from Jianyang, China, is roughly one month into a yearlong appointment at the university, where she has been studying photosynthesis and crop productivity.
When my daughter is found, I will never let her go back to the U.S. Yingying Zhang’s father
Police said she has not contacted her parents, any of her friends or her boyfriend.
Concern for Zhang’s safety was heightened when “other young women” recently reported the driver of a black vehicle had tried to lure them into it, police said.
The FBI and investigators from the Illinois State Police have joined the search for Zhang. The bureau on Saturday announced it is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information that helps it locate Zhang.
Zhang’s father, aunt and boyfriend arrived from China on Saturday.
“I have faith that my niece will eventually come back,” Zhang’s aunt, Ye Liqin, told reporters. “This is all we can do, to keep believing.”
Zhang’s father said he will not leave until his daughter is found.
“When my daughter is found, I will never let her go back to the U.S.,” he told the Beijing Youth Daily.
Zhang is described as an Asian woman, 5 feet 4 inches tall, 110 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a charcoal-colored baseball hat, pink and white top, jeans and white tennis shoes. She was carrying a backpack.
Anyone with information on Zhang’s whereabouts or about the black Saturn Astra is asked to call the university police at 217-333-1216 or anonymously at 217-373-TIPS.