Episode #9 and 23: Brendt Christensen and the Murder of Yingying Zhang

Original episode
Trial update episode

Summary of the Case:

On June 9th, 2017, graduate student from China was traveling on the campus of University of Illinois, in an attempt to go sign a lease for a new apartment. Security camera footage caught Yingying miss her buss, and wait at a bus stop for another. A car pulled up to her, she got into the car, and was never seen again.

Investigators would be able to track the car in the video to Brendt Christensen, a graduate teaching assistant living just off of campus. Eventually search warrants were obtained, and searched would find blood all over Christensen’s apartment. His girlfriend wore a wire, and while attending a vigil for Yingying, Brendt admitted to her that he had killed Yingying, and began picking out a new potential victim. He was soon arrested for the murder of Yingying Zhang, although he maintained his innocence.

Wire tapping audio

By the time the trial began in April 2019, the defense admitted that Christensen had killed Yingying, but had gone to trial to avoid a sentence of the death penalty. Christensen was found guilty of the kidnapping and murder of Yingying Zhang. The jury was unable to agree on the death penalty, so he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Sources for this Episode:

Surveillance video
Christensen Interrogation
Wiretap
Trial Twitter Updates
New Gazette Article 1
News Gazette Article 2
News Gazette Article 3
News Gazette Article 4
News Gazette Article 5
News Gazette Article 6
News Gazette Article 7
News Gazette Article 8
News Gazette Article 9
News Gazette Article 10
News Gazette Article 11
News Gazette Article 12
News Gazette Article 13
News Gazette Article 14
News Gazette Article 15
News Gazette Article 16
News Gazette Article 17
News Gazette Article 18
We strive to list a comprehensive list of our sources, however, if you believe a source is missing, please contact us at internetsleuthspodcast@gmail.com or through this website

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