Full Episode: Friday, November 15, 2019
We have this missing international stint. How did this young visiting scholar just disappear and all you could do is think as a parent? My child is halfway around the world. Nobody knows where they arc. We have about two thousand cameras and she got off the bus right here at this location this eerie video to watch as soon as the the car drives up basically and stocks right by hanging. I'm just thinking don't don't get in the car. Don't get in the car we're dealing with kidnapping that there's someone someone out there posing as an undercover trying to get people in triples certainly didn't fit the profile of a kidnapper. Did you see this. Kim Believes Look at who the kidnapper was in God. We didn't bring all talk. I needed to know where she was white now and find out wrap them. They're having his girlfriend. Wear a wire maybe even risking your life. I'm turning this thing on. It's about twelve twelve. Forty they want her to go. Undercover to girlfriend is scared to death. We see that he was on a group chat tiled abduction WANNA one. It was a fetish the fantasy it was clear this was something he wanted to do. she started. freaking out. Champaign Urbana is in the heart if champaign county where square county right in the middle of East Central Illinois. People what I would call salty people. People who work hard have strong values the University of Illinois straddles. Both cities Champaign Urbana. The story itself plays out essentially on the U. OF HI campus from beginning to it's a beautiful campus at sprawling youtube was developed by our alums soybean was developed as a cash crop here at the the University of Illinois so the roots are no pun intended very deep. I'm a graduate of the University of Illinois. It has V. largest Chinese student population action in the country. There's no other college in the. US that has more Chinese students. And now if you went around campus about this time I swear to God do think here in Beijing because there are so many Asian students in the spring of two thousand sixteen a new person flies from China joining thousands of other Chinese students a brilliant visiting scholar. She was twenty six years old and her name is Yingying Zhang. Yingying was a graduate student from one of the top universities in all of China. She was an academic superstar and she had eight real you zest for experiencing all sorts of different things she travels. She did the Voluntary Union. lobsters singing and She ended a few friends. They formed a pop group called Cute Horse and she was the lead singer. Aw before she came to the. US or friends celebrating birthday and party also became a fair wear party before our journey to the US. She felt that the -versity of Villain woj here was one of the best places she could go in her field of environmental sciences. You to get into a research group here at the University of Illinois. You obviously have to have promised her her tent was to begin a PhD program. Here in the fall being was Applying a position in our lab. She'll go us really excited about without everything air. It's just a it's a new kind of a new world. A new life open to her. She was so new. The only been here for a few weeks and so just ten really had a chance to establish a lot of relationships. She spent lots of time. I'm working or doing research. She also bought a guitar and she said she didn't have a lot of time to play it but it just made her feel like she had a friend in your apartment. Friday June ninth two thousand seventeen just typical beautiful summer day here during the Summer campus is a lot more empty while students are home. Union went to Turner Hall on campus. That morning. June ninth. Yeah it's just a normal day. We kind of a cream some equipment. We have been using so Iran noontime. She told me she. She had to appoint manage Tehran one thirty PM to sign an argument elise so she was living on the south end of campus. What they call the married student student housing complex? She was looking to move to the one north apartments because it would be less expensive and so she'd set up that morning to go to or the one north apartments. Aw later that day over the lunch hour said issue relief for two hours and I said that yeah. It was fine being the and the apartment manager had been texting each other to set up this meeting. When she doesn't show up he takes her back and says where are you Iran one three thirty or four PM? I feel a little bit Jentzsch. Because they shouldn't take too so long about the kind of an employee. Oy just leave. She was a person who was very responsible. Well they became concerned rather quickly and they attempted contact and they couldn't contact her by cell phone after dinner. I went back to the office and to see if she might happy back there but I know so. I thought I'd go to parliament to check. Nobody answered the door so and that moment I thought something must've Dak gone wrong. Then we went to the university. Police Office went in physically in the office. Yeah what did they say at that time because it was Friday evening in the please default. This just happened happen to so often. Like student went missing links typical. We have had students in the past. But they're very rare that they're actually elite that we don't find them immediately and some of her colleagues that are also Grad students came and would literally sit in our front office. Do you think they were feeling. We're not doing enough. I think they were just so concerned for our welfare and they. They had a sense of urgency about it that She needed help. And none of this made sense than I did. Then we just to stay in front of the Department building we stayed maybe and Hugh midnight still. We really taking have any news. This is Mary the next day Saturday June the tenth. I was working here in the newsroom and the phone rang and it was a male friend being and he told me we have this missing seeing international student and I have to admit I kind of rolled my eyes as a crime reporter. We get missing persons reports quite a bit but there. There's something about the way these people were conveying. We think something's wrong. That made me say okay. It will hurt if we run short stories saying that the police are looking for. There was a determination to find her. There's that determination from campus and from law enforcement or officers initially went there Her apartment was a normal condition so she didn't pack up her clothes and she didn't have a car so I assume that she took a bus. So Oh I basically checked with MTV buses in town here to see if she had gotten a bus that's when they started looking at the cameras the buses and to try try to figure out her last movements. We have two thousand cameras so that changed everything. There's probably ten cameras on this bus. Uh when they're they're here the she never yeah and then they discover that an exterior camera on the outside of the bus captures captures Yingying boarding a city bus at about one thirty pm right in front of her apartment inside cameras show her walking toward the back taking a seat. She was captured on video from the bus. That dropped her off. So the buses traveling eastbound from that direction coming coming from the West and she got off the bus right here at this location right despite this bar right here. Switch the next camera that received she got off. The bus came over in this direction. Saw So another bus heading this direction I think. Trying to flag it down I'm not sure if the bus driver saw her and not shoes almost desperate to get them to stop. Yeah based on the video I mean you can tell that. There was a sense of urgency. I'm trying to get their assigned lease so I can have a place to stay. What happens next? Thinks he's stopping nothing there to Collect herself wait on the next bus and still kind of like maybe trying to figure out. Am I gonNa make it in time. We noticed her standing next to a bus stop just south of university and worship. She was just standing. She's feeling anxious. And at that moment. There's something dark is on the horizon. You're looking at somebody who has no clue what is around the corner. Tell me what happened. That day out here. Union Jong was on her way to an apartment complex to sign a lease. She got on a bus from one of the campus housing facilities. She gets off a bus. She gets off on one side of the street her connecting buses on the other side of the street. She misses by seconds surveillance. Video shows running after the bus after two PM that she's at the bus stop. ganging is standing on the corner probably hoping that she can just catch a break then. They make a critical discovery on a camera camera parking garage right across the street from where she was waiting for a bus. No idea out fine where she went till. Yeah Yeah I literally trying to find a needle in a haystack. So here you realize. Here's the needle needle. The camera capture her standing there and when we watch that video further there's a black sedan. That drove fire actually turned in front of her East circle around the block and then and pull up next to him and stopped and it appeared that the driver roll down the passenger side window. And I saw a look inside. It was pretty eerie video to watch as soon as the car drives up basically in substrate binding. I'm just thinking like don't don't get in the car. Don't get into the car but then you see that she walks up to it there. It was a discussion between Yingying and the driver for about a minute and then she eventually got in a car. She opened the passenger side door and got in style shot and then just drove right off camera. The video footage from that camera dramatically changed the scope of the investigation is now. We didn't just have a missing persons this case now. We had a suspect vehicle. She got in the car with a person. Whoever was driving that vehicle? Exactly what happened once you got on a car. We realize allies okay. We're dealing with kidnapping here through that video. We're trying to figure out. Okay what kind of cars you could not see from the distance. Ain't got to pixellated as you go. She could not I get a view of the driver could not get view of the license plate and so the FBI got involved. Vehicles are very unique. Vehicle was was identified as a Saturn Astro which was only produced ver very short timeframe imported into the United States. It's Saturn Astra which is a very rare vehicles. I think if it was a Honda accord Toyota. Camry in Champaign County I would imagine there's probably thousands common vehicles this car. There was only fifty the eight in the state. There is nothing more important than determining who owned the car whether they could make any identification of driver and then go talk to that person the the FBI has been treating this as a kidnapping. Campus police say surveillance video shows. Zor entering a black Saturn Astra vehicle the fact that the police were releasing the video gave it a renewed sense of this is a serious situation the posters of young and the card where we're hung up all around campus students on campus. We're very concerned I'm fear was there amongst the other students here. Whether started to unfold everybody was kind of really really frightened especially the females and Just thinking about how many times you see young females college students walking around in the area by themselves. I think it was a a huge eye opener. I think the biggest series of her disappearance was that somebody did take her. I know there's big talk like a sex trafficking ring. One has to think if there is someone driving around the campus scanning potential victims that someone from the greater community but but certainly not someone was a student at camps. A lot of students don't even have vehicles got more frightening when this British Grad student named Emily Hogan tells police that earlier the same day that Yingying went missing. A man tried to get her into his car. She said White Male in a black sedan. pull up next to her identified himself as an undercover police officer and asked her to get in his car to answer a few questions about things going on in the neighborhood. Emily describe seeing mirrored sunglasses and being shown a badge she declined and then she immediately calls the police. Do you remember hearing anything. Police police scanner. You insure him. Would you be able to say that was in his in the sunglasses and the TAP Hogan is so rattled that she posts about the encounter on facebook. Look this is hours before being kidnapping she warns people. Don't get in a car. Even if they say they are police or have a badge if ganging income just seen that post perhaps she might never have done. It's scary to to know that somebody was out there. It's just driving around wanting to pick got blend into achieve may Gordon with Piji Tala Nelia Catholic across the ocean in China. That video of young and getting into that Black Saturn is seen on Chinese media One of the people watching that was some very very close hanging for serious boyfriend Sheldon Hall. I saw them. I don't know what happened. Osher she getting a car and I also have some bad feelings for phase one. The thing happened and the way inside to you to look for her by ourselves. Eh Boyfriend and her family wanted to do something that the FBI could not do. Just find out for themselves exactly what happened. It's all a in small towns. Eysenck dog just looked like she rushed. Break Down Oh yeah. The the goal was for some of them died definitely hurt Woefully should've going for two missing became much hugest story China now. If you ask ordinary a Chinese citizen by unions name everyone knows about this case this one so much attention because it was from a very ordinary family uncover every detail about gigging. John's background. Tom I traveled thousands of miles away from the American College. Down to the south of China to the town of non paying. Yingying Zhang is from a region of southeast China. When you get there you can see this natural beauty near the mountains surrounded by what is known as the nine Ben River? The main economy in this area is t farming King's hometown of not paying is one of four cities in the country. Uh when I got there the people are so nice. The family welcomed me when I came to their apartment. It was very modest. There was no seating so when I sat down to interview them. We actually had to wear coats moment in June. Two thousand seventeen. What did you hear I? The she was missing. A Little Tai Chi was nothing I shall. She's Muna Genealogy young as we look I mean in the family does not come with Queen means the father was driver for small company. Mom never really an education. She does not read and write so she basically a homemaker. Union Union has a younger brother to all out of school. One he was Middle School Age and he's learning to be a cook smartest one school component because someone was very special from when she was little she enjoys study. She was the bass the student in every school she went to she was my ah assistant for three years. She was friendly positive. And always have Allah cosmonauts She's just precious and chanted smile. That would light up wherever she works. Yingying was the very first member of the family who ever went to university. And that's where she met her boyfriend challenging matter in the first meeting of the classmates I how how deep impression of the of being at that meeting. She has base and Before boys they they were both students they graduated number one and number two shell. NBA Number One and they both went out for Graduate Studies at Talk Picking University which is the equivalent of Chinese. Harvard's there when you look at those videos of being winging being getting into that car. What did you think when you saw that video? I'll one hand. I think we'll be bouncing before will be not not not difficult for them to locate the car and locating days one I nothing happened. Nothing happened and way decided to go to. You have to look for her by ourselves to do. You're on searched. y'All do our own search. You thought police in the University of just was not doing enough. I think we could do better. King's father her boyfriend. Her aunt her mother's sister all came the family family tells me they want to do anything they can to find. Their girl will now give out until we find her. We can't imagine what the emotion would be for family to come the country that never speak the language. Oh Haggar devastated. It was horrible. I mean in all you do is think as a parent. My child is halfway halfway around the world. Nobody knows where they are. I'm GonNa get as close as I can to where she was last seen and I'm going to try to find her. Where being into the bar? How many times do you think the spot many times? I also the thing we can to find her by ourselves. We serve a lot of places around champagne. We got a lot of tapes. One time I saw on facebook it was a woman. I think of Asian descent That receive in Salem Illinois. Which is south of here? You're about seventy five. Miles rushed right down to Salem. Oh Yeah when their show her pictures to the people there this the the goal will hurt some of them given side definitely is her. The family contacted the Salem Police Department which offered checks surveillance video from St Cameras. Search to see if the girl in question was actually union. They have the videos. But I'm voting. That goal was now d- You saw the video who she did not look like being at all from the back Looks like aim abed the That was not your hopes and then suddenly disappear. Yeah yeah this kind of thing happened then. Several times she's a oncein because on the talent is acting nineteen so then it was very frustrating for us so I can't imagine With the family was going through. You know trying to figure out if their daughter is still alive Can they can they find any locator crime. Stoppers is offering forty thousand dollar reward for any information that leads the J it it is the largest reward of its kind ever offered by the organization especially we came up with eighteen vehicles that were persons of interest interests that we wanted to look at the got excited ended up point but then slowed when make contact with those people and we still had nothing. The police always liked to say that it's good. Police work that solves crimes in this case the greatest clue that they could have was right in front of their eyes and the person who found the clue that how crack this case case wasn't an FBI age. He was a campus cop. I watched it for almost I would say somewhere between five and ten minutes of just watching the go forward and backwards and was able to determine that yes. This is something different about this car. I kind of got a little excited. 'cause I'm GonNa hey there's something there. It changed everything. It was a huge moment. Twenty six year old ganging Zang disappear June nine campus. Police say surveillance video shows are entering a black Saturn. Astra vehicle in Urbana that afternoon. Hanging has been missing for days the police. FBI agents are working twenty hour days because they know that they're up against the clock. They know that with each passing hour with each passing day chances of finding diminish. We're working twenty four seven. We weren't seeing our families. We were in some way sleeping just a couple of hours just enough to get back up and go again. All attention came onto that black Saturn Astra lost the license plate. It's driving the vehicle. The video was very grainy. Got To pixellated that you came and could not get a view of the driver could not get a view of the license plate This young lady to be found there were some detectives looking at video footage. So I went in and I asked everything I can do to help. what are you guys looking for. He said we're trying to figure out if we can. You know enhanced this and see the license plate on June fourteenth. I reviewed the video. It was from this camera angle. That's on the electrical computer engineering building and the black vehicles. Actually traveling northbound. How started watching wheels? I noticed that there was something missing here. Defect there was a dark spot. That was missing from the right passenger front hubcap on and then going through. Doing my checks going forward going backward spending a lot more time frame by frame taking a look at it I was able to determine that yes. This is something something different about this car so no one else had seen that before you did. Yeah and then I kinda got a little excited. Because I'm hey there's something there sergeant Carter. Everybody knows that he's he's a car guy. And he has a real close attention to detail and everything and I didn't see it but he did. It was a huge moment that information comes back to the FBI BI that. There's a piece missing from that front right HUBCAP. You could also see that the vehicle had large sunroof which was not observable in some of the other camera footage and FBI agent. He goes through his notes and he realizes the first guy we interviewed. He's car had a center when they initially actually interviewed him he was calm did not appear to be nervous. He said that he was home all day. Playing Video Games in. FBI agent noted well He. We had a sunroof on his car. I sent him back out there with a team. Say if there's a broken hubcap let let us know immediately. And then they went back to that Saturn. Look at the car couple minutes later I get a photo. It's a match. The it was the same hubcap that has been seen on the video. The owner died. Vehicle was Brent Christian. Christiansen Sinn was a young man. Twenty seven who had just completed a Master's program with the University of Illinois and their physics department. He was on the list of teaching assistants who were ranked as excellent by their students. Excuse my t. a teacher assistant for physics mechanics. He seemed. I'm pretty knowledgeable. They seem like you know like any. Ta and Physics Department pretty respectable. Know what they're talking about. What was he like was he? Was He stressed. Was He relaxed. It's the same. Pretty relaxed seem pretty mild. You know he didn't really have. I wouldn't say he had much of a big personality. You know he was married. He lived in our nice apartment on the West Edge. A champagne certainly didn't fit the profile of a kidnapper. A new no criminal history. He has no police contacts tax so there was really nothing significance and his background. I really wanted to talk to Mr Christianson. We knew she got into two his vehicle so our plan was to knock on the door. We wanted to ask if Mr Christmas and be willing to talk to us. I mean it was almost midnight by the time. They had the warrant and assembled a team to go out to his apartment and I just kept saying to myself over and over again. I'm just out loud. I can't believe that it's this easy. I can't can't believe this is how we're going to catch him from that. Cracked Hubcap when we knocked on the door. He seemed maybe a little surprised but was was relatively calm and his demeanor when we enter the apartment we immediately noticed that his wife was on dressed. I don't know why she would answer the door. Were that way. She seemed to be very comfortable. The agents asked her if she would put on clothes because it would make them feel more comfortable one of the things that was in the apartment that there's there's a photograph of our the mered aviator sunglasses that you can actually see a reflection of Christians wife. It's it's interesting because when you see those mirrored sunglasses they're just like the ones that the British students said she saw on the man who tried to talk doc her until this car. I walked through them inside the apartment. He sat down and his kitchen table. I gave him a copy of the warrant. Asked him if he would come in and talk to us or office was just a mile away. He was very nonchalant when he asked him. If he's willing to come down to the station he told his wife he said Larry Everything I've seen. The movies tells me I shouldn't talk to the police. What do you think? And she nonchalantly said he agreed to come and interview with us and so myself and detective stivers drove him to our Champagne FBI office this is voluntary interview. So anytime when you're done we'll all. I really had a sense of urgency that I needed to know where she was like. Now I uh-huh it was close to midnight. Mr Christmas agreed to come and interview with myself and detective style. Persson the university police. We left his apartment and throwback to the FBI headquarters did he look like he was worried. He was very calm. especially the I'm a sign here and then this is Eric Eric in touch with the university. Police we are investigating the disappearance of questions bushes. One of the things as I like to do when I start an interview. He's just have the person tell their story or in. This case retail is story that he had prior told to agents. Do you remember remember. We told him I was either decided naturally out abnormal the way he was answering he didn't and seem very concerned why he was there Most people in that situation might be like. Why are you pulling me out of bed at this time of the morning? Why are we here and and he never really asked him he just Kinda wanted to see what we were going to ask him almost like he felt that he was interviewing you? In a way he wasn't going to provide us anything new and he. You wanted to know what we knew why your suspicion is cars or anything else I mean. That's a large portion of his his car to stivers Sinden. I hadn't interviewed together before doing it. Together we pretty quickly and easily evolved evolved into a softer approach for myself graduated. We sort of in a bit more confrontational approach with detective. Stivers Sun blue that we bring up here starbuck games. CBS brought you up. Here was the car I I was. I was really going after him and it was because I had a sense of urgency that I need to know where she was like now I really press him about the video. You're a student here at the U. of I what do we have everywhere. Cameras cameras with cameras. Everywhere we control Chiasso bus stops. We can look in buses. We can look Harry building down streets and you're telling me that I didn't and see you driving your car and turned earned. Turn on and we still have. You've seen what we've allowed you to see. And then at that point you could see it in his face. The wheels are turning his eyes. Start to flutter I I know that you could turn where did shop office you looking for. Why she's Mr Bus? She told you she so. Where did you drop her off at? And there is a lengthy period of silence. Mr Christianson starts to physically react to that confrontation when he realizes he's at odds with his story. He's almost hyper ventilating like somebody. That's having a panic attack. And one point. He looks over Tony Mr Chris. This look set may almost wanting help almost almost wanting an out and I remember just staring back at them because I wanted to answer as well. I wasn't there to give him an out. This awesome are your and he made an admission. That was like a light bulb going off. He Changes Direction and admits that that he actually had picked up an Asian person in his car. Earlier in that day he had gone from that cool. Calm confident too nervous or low and seemed to desperately be looking for an answer to give. That would explain why she got into his car. Do you remember the girls. Take your what what's early on. I saw Orlando area distress pastor. She can help shorten she says. Oh I did pick up an Asian female and then the information and that he provided pretty much down to you had no doubt at them no doubt in my mind at that point. I knew that he was our guy that it was not only his car for. He was the driver. Christianson was our guy but we still didn't know where being was still didn't know what happened to union. So where did you drop her off. Ticket tonight signed answering questions I try. I knew we had the guy what I struggled with was was being able to prove it keeps arrested for making a false statement to the FBI. He was detained for about twenty four hours but ultimately the US Attorney's Office decided to not prosecute we didn't want hold him in custody because we thought that by releasing him we would have have the opportunity to find the authorities are trying to find her. If she's still alive they have a secret game plan they are. We're GONNA have somebody very close to Christianson go undercover and help them solve the case. Well I know where the more than one outside of like the FBI want he wanted. It is is a parent's nightmare. I mean. Send your kid away to school and then they never come tonight believers Brandt ta. I'm just absolutely blown away. They ask ask Christianson girlfriend to wear wire for that. They want her to go undercover during the entire Walk Tara was recording recording everything that he was saying he s personnel at. Ah Girlfriend is scared to death. They want the find the daughter she disappeared at the University of Illinois and still has not been found alive with as I want to bring home inning. John was last seen on this campus video moving toward late. June of two thousand seventeen this may they have been the most frightening time for students. Faculty residents in Champaign Urbana. You still had a missing woman and nobody knew who was is behind this. There's this image of black car that's been put out in the media. People on campus are wondering is their kidnapper out. They're going to strike Agai- Socialize with the public doesn't know at this point is that authorities have tracked that vehicle to the U. of I.. Physics Grad student named Brett. Chris Initially Christians and said he never left the apartment on June ninth that he was sleeping and playing video games as girl but in that the interrogation he admits that he picked someone up and by the way that person he picked up matches almost to a T.. The House out we knew Christianson was our guy. We still didn't know where bringing was still didn't know what happened to Yang. We thought that by releasing him we would have the opportunity to find the the suspect in this case was not at all some nefarious person from the outside looking in. He's the kind of guy you'd want to bring home to mom and dad. I think it took a lot of people by surprise is because he was a candidate. It didn't I guess what would be considered a normal profile so there was really nothing significance and his background background. And I knew from Wisconsin Bring Christianson was born in one thousand nine hundred eighty nine In Stevens Point Wisconsin in the town of of Stevens Point which is population about twenty. Six thousand people here in Wisconsin. He can't get a a town in different than non family being new. When people talk about Steven's point the first thing that usually POPs APPs up the point brewery we have our own symphony orchestra at three different playhouses? It's not quite Norman Rockwell But it is people come here and they raise their families and the nobody feels unsafe. This of the neighborhood were Brampton new up certainly middle class. You grew up. They were very nice. Very friendly. The kept their yards up their house. Up of the kids were very very mindful. Mom Dad worked real hard NYC was a carpenter the also had a bending route that he ran and the Dow was always always working hard but about mom. She was a little bit more freely little bit more outgoing and very hard working inning again. It still has birthdays when you're all day. Typical brothers that was always picking on Brett. Burt wouldn't fight right back. And I had to warn my way. Watch out he's getting bigger. What's the history of typical kid really highly intelligent able to teach Marie on you know before kindergarten read right mass no problem? They have all learned on his own without not training when he was in grade school. He was in a gifted program so really he had a fairly really good upbringing. He has no aggression. Very gentle very private My sons my daughter myself depend on logic and so we can shove firm ocean stone. He did have night terrors that he would wake up in the middle of the night. There was one incident where he tried to jump off the second floor. Porch grant into the street into a car. That was passing by and sent him to the hospital. The neurologist who is a specialist and sleep disorders orders told me this is something odd. He mentioned perfect storm. That it's probably would never ever happen again. What was he like when he was in high school? I guess I could call him a loner type. He was the invisible guy except for the handful of times that he and his friends decided. Decide to just be goofy and class goofy goofy one time coordinated with a friend outside of class to burst in Uh in the middle of the hour to just have a lightsaber fight with plastic lightsaber. I this is his graduate. Yeah your book. So brand decided take a scanned picture from a roller coaster ride. This is kind of person that was in class with me. I mean he was kind. I never goof after Christianson leave school. He meets Michelle who had also gone to the same high school. They began dating relationship unshipped and very fast. What did you think of the show intelligent? She was good for him. He needed somebody intellectual He got admitted to the white to attempt to obtain his PhD. They're one of the top programs in the country that you feel that he news at the top of his game absolutely nothing but good things I mean here. He was doing something that I really did. He was a professional student by two thousand sixteen. His coursework is going down the tubes. He decides that the doctoral program. He's not gonNA make it. So we downshifts to graduate ACHMET degree while he's failing identically. There are suddenly cracks in his marriage when he's drinking too much he's wife. Michelle has had. She gave the option of open marriage instead of divorce. That's why he agreed to. It is basically an ultimatum and he did not want to lose her. You you mentioned that there's another gashing semesters relationship should terrible S. is Frank Russians girlfriends. He found her on a dating website after him and his wife lighten and decided to go into open relationship. Terrible person in the in. The local Champaign Urbana community. She would say she's had a hard. Life was a very very honest and forthright person Lou. At ten o'clock here. The family of a Missing University of Illinois scholar from China is pleading for help. Tara was interviewed by agents on June fifteenth and gave a very thorough interview. Very open and cooperative live and wanted to help in any manner she could authorities. Don't have the Goods Upright Christianson so they throw somewhat of a Hail Mary. They ask Christians his girlfriend terrible is to wear a wire for that. They want her to go undercover against not just her boyfriend but a man that the authorities authorities have now considered to be the prime suspect in the kidnapping and improbable death of a job. This is Tara. It's Thursday the twenty second at five twenty five and he should be coming over around five thirty so I'm turning it on Mystery at U. of I what really happened to a visiting scholar from China who disappeared from campus the best and perhaps only opportunity. We had to have someone who could interact directly with British really was terrible the FBI call Tara in because she was the closest person Christianson. She came in voluntarily and sat and answered questions. This is a girlfriend girlfriend. This is somebody who has an intimate relationship with. She was conflicted because she loved Breckenridge during the conversation with terra. We've approached her. With the idea of wearing a wire and recording future conversations with Christianson she was willing to cooperate because it would either exonerate him or it would help find. We have the girlfriend. WHO's wearing awhile? Girlfriend is scared to death. This was a very risky escape proposition. From the very beginning if he were to determine that she's also involved in this at this point in a private moment in their bedroom in a a car. He very easily taken her out. There is always concerns with having a confidential source that's going going undercover. We felt pretty good because Christianson was under twenty four hour surveillance turning this thing on. It's about twelve forty. I am going to go see on the porch. The way the recordings progress the first few there is little evidence towards the crime necessarily surly. I have already done more than I had to for them. And I was repaid by. I want to find this girl. He makes the common meant to her that he wants to clear his name with the FBI. So eight days after unions disappearance Christianson voluntarily goes goes back into that. FBI Office you see. He gives a very similar story. About how just mixed up his days and how. He just wanted to to help this woman. She started freaking out. She was reading here hair. Where am I I? Stop sending cards art. Then she got. I remember the residential area. Would you maybe it'd be well after this carbon sort of takes through the areas is that kind of refreshes your revelation. So he agreed to go out with them drive around the area north of where he had picked her up to try to identify specific location where he had let her out of his or he directed them in all sorts of different directions. B basically took them on a wild goose chase. I think he went in with the attention of trying. To clear here is name. He was more of a suspect after the Indiana seventeen after the second interview with Frank Christensen the FBI let it be known publicly that they had his car found that Black Saturn. The won't say where it was found or who it belongs to. That must've been a key moment in his mind if he had any thoughts that he was going to control the situation. They went out the window at that point. Why would they release that? I like so the kept the INFO. Because that enormous the real culprits to north of the kiss like for instance they knew nothing to do. camellias is similar to the undercover tapes. Have really gone nowhere. Initially he doesn't say anything incriminating and that all of the sudden there's an event that will change the direction of the case on June twenty nine twenty seventeen. There is a vigil in honor of being. This event was established to try to bring more awareness and try to help find her bring Christianson Christianson was still in contact with terrible. That morning texted her and told her that he wanted to go to the memorial walk. He showed up at a vigil for the woman was accused of kidnapping six forty six on Thursday June tony ninth benefit for the walk and Brennan of alcohol and he is drinking rallies here spine spine near Eh. The fact that he wanted to go to her memorial walk was very odd so when Christensen and his girlfriend are walking along in that visual A. W. CIA news crew. got a very quick shot from behind it turns out during the entire fire walk. Tara was recording everything that he was saying. He said everyone is here for me. He made commerce out during the walk. It took Tony Days. It's long and hard journey for me and for the whole family. Shaolin had a song that he had written for Jagna. And at this this memorial he played that song for the crowd. That's huge and at the end of that song beckons stood up and started cheering clapping. Thank you guys so much coming down here for the walk said Christianson not just slowly clapped his hands. He stayed in his seat and he just slowly clapped. Do It really was an insight into the depth of Brent Kristiansen's depravity. He describes how people are coming coming up to him thanking him for being here. Thank me like just think about that. Just percents in how they want him in the middle of that. Visual is girlfriend with the F. B. I. Recording Device Suddenly years exactly what happened the Yingying Joan. She was I remember getting home. mm-hmm that night I couldn't sleep close to midnight my phone rings and it's my supervisor. When he goes tears here we're listening to the recording and Christianson admits on the recording that he killed hanging in unholy terror was very upset when she was with us in our office? On the day of the memorial walk. She was very frightened many times. She was very scared many times crying. Just shake in and this really impacted her. The things that were said to her. It will never find you emily year because with those emissions we believe that we had enough evidence to now arrest him for for kidnapping we start tonight with breaking news the FBI within the hour announcing charges against a man accused of kidnapping news of the charges shocking. To those who knew Christianson finding out Brian Christianson was a student. made the situation a little more scary. He was going to class. Here is going to work here. I reached out to one of my friends randomly. Hey did you see this believers like this brand that's our TA. This is a a tax you sent to one of the other students in the class. I'm saying look who the kidnapper was. And he's like. Oh my God I say isn't an insane. Brent was the kidnapper. I'm just absolutely blown away. I spent most of June thirtieth drafting a criminal criminal complaint authorizing his arrest. Investigators Believe Missing Student Union Jong is dead and knowing that I was the agent who wrote that it really struck me because I had to then go and be with her family so Sorry it can tag when you first heard this name Brendt Christensen. What did what did you think at that moment to? Some I love with Johnson. How will you on the we? The MOTOMACHI claim. The name of all had anything also in cold I love this. Christensen has no criminal history and has pleaded not guilty. Christianson is charged federally one count of kidnapping resulting in death to counts of lying to the FBI while Christopherson is in jail. He has multiple phone calls with his family. which are all recorded? He tells his mother Ellen he had nothing to do with the disappearance offer national Wondering what they're taking. All the the truth will come up but at the time Christmas family just had no idea what was actually said on that recording at the visual. You strongly believe that he was innocent when you first heard it was not the brand new. Oh no print couldn't have done that. That does not fall within his character at all as we continue to move the case forward the defense turns over to us. This march twenty first counseling. He went to the university counseling center and to see what he could do to save his marriage. He talked with intern counselor who interviewed him for about an hour and because she was an intern she took a video video of it was the it's gone on for years. He described himself as Kinda lonely. Noaa and despair have probably has oppression persons house teenager Ortiz family the friends over our Christian's Christian's wife is fed up with their relationship and wants a quote Unquote Open Marriage Christensen meets terrible is and then what happens next leads to a new direction for Christmas and she is into the fetish community and she brings him into that. Fold the agents learn from examining prince film that he now he was on this fat life website which is a website that individuals various fetishes can get on and have various discussions And and so we see that he was on a group chat and tiled abduction WanNa one and it revealed in there he was talking to a woman about something called a consensual abduction and when he described how he was going to take her put her in a large Duffel bag duct tape her mouth and then put her in the either the back seat or or the career of his car than he actually was just visiting these sites just a few times over all the contact with one of the person that was it there are individuals no doubt who were on their who for them it was a fetish a fantasy but something they wouldn't act out for print Christopherson with a large Duffel bag that he discussed on the website he actually purchased richest. It was clear this was something he wanted to do. There's an avalanche of seemingly incriminating evidence against Brent Christians but he sticks to his guns he maintains this is innocent. Didn't do anything well. But at Christianson style the victim's family would hear something no parent should ever ever have to hear believable supernatural father and brother. I kind of wish that they would just take off. The headphones it laid may gains means family and loved ones came to the US to attend the trial. been doing in the United States and she wanted to make sure in their dreams. They want their daughter order or they want the remains. It may be that. This trial brings to closure mm-hmm bread Chris and goes on trial for his life in Peoria Federal Court outside the courthouse hundreds demanding justice for Zang and her family in June twelfth. Two thousand nine hundred opening statements Peoria federal courthouse. It's two years and three days. Since Yang disappeared and Brent Christianson is on trial life. The government is seeking the federal death penalty in a state where capital punishment has been abolished. This is a federal capital case. And that's extremely rare to begin with the death. Penalty at a state level was abolished years earlier. But the prosecutors wanted to put Christianson on death. Row It's a cavernous courtroom bread Christians sitting at the defense table fixing the jury. Every family is sitting in the front left side of the Gallery in Christian since field division. They were very solemn STOIC and yes they could look at him but he I don't think would ever try and make eye contact with them during the opening statement. Simple simple phrases. I repeated several times. was He kidnapped her he murdered. He covered up his crime prosecutor in star witness Christian since girlfriend terribleness terrible as arrives to court flanked by FBI agents. He didn't WanNa look at her at all. There was an opportunity when she would sail right past him and he would still keep his eyes down. She testifies to the relationship that they had. The prosecution takes her through the relationship through her decision to wear a wire for the FBI. Terrible us. She's a hero case. I believe that she did an incredible job testifying. I mean you can imagine how hard that was during cross examination. Listen as the defense astro numerous questions and attacked her. They said when he started dating Tara that's when he linked sex and violence in his mind signed. And maybe that's what propelled him to go. Farther down this path. Maybe she was the catalyst that made him think about these things. Any claim that Tara bullets led him to do this as preposterous. The evidence shows that he was already making these plans long before we met terrible. Her testimony was crucial but it was what she did recording conversations surreptitiously of Christianson that became the cornerstone of the case. It's the the jury is hearing these details. They're wearing headphones. There's a transcript playing in the courtroom and of the recording. I'm sitting behind Gina's father and brother or listening on headphones to a translation of the recording. Joke Evil Supernatural Hong. It locked curator. And it's a bad. Yeah Yeah Schilling human. Being first of all could do what he said he did. Go to another human being but even more chilling that he could describe what he did with such pleasure he ultimately Says to Tara on that recording that he decapitated union along with the father and brother. I kind of wish wish they would just take off the headphones but they didn't. They absorbed every single word. And it was heartbreaking with us But what was on that tape just got even more horrific recorded evidence that Christmas and may not have killed just one person but many people eh rethinking he just admitted to being a serial killer Inside the puree a federal courthouse a recording has been played of brand Christianson not only admitting to killing union but boasting that he had killed before. Keith the past personnel level. At either you have a bonafide serial killer you better find. There's other victims or he's just following a path of lies and deceit. When we heard that we took that very seriously so the FBI ran down all the leads? They could looked back at the places that he had lived looked for missing persons at those locations. Ultimately we cannot find any other victims. That's not saying that there aren't any but we've never been able to find any other victims. The defense USC early on admitted that Christianson had kidnapped and killed Yingying but they said because he lied about killing those twelve other victims victims. You can't believe all of those horrible details heard on those tapes the defensive these were the ramblings of a drunk man that he was balancing these statements that he was performing for terrible. Do half of what he said. It wasn't as horrendous. I'm sure Kellyanne. Somebody's but it wasn't as prosecution around the difference between the claim of twelve other victims and not being able to corroborate that and thus what he did a union than not being truthful. He doesn't match with the evidence obtained from the apartment. He describes hitting her in the head with baseball bat have her DNA on the baseball. We have her blood her. DNA on the mattresses on the floor boards underneath the bed. Who knew that his wife was going to be out of town for the weekend? Huge dramatic cleaned Madonna. drywall going all the way down. Baseboard we got video of him. Going to a local Walmart is he purchased large amounts of drain l.. He purchased swiffer with her pads. He purchased garbage bags. There's a mountain of evidence against Christianson. Not Alive question about whether or not he's guilty MM-HMM I think the jury delivering Ed for about ninety minutes before coming back. Yeah didn't have to wait around that loan. And then the guilty verdict came and it was for her when it came time for the penalty phase of the case the does kick it into the whole new emotional level on the part of the defense attorneys to tryin spare his life the prosecution would have you believe that brand Christianson Johnson is a singular predator. The defense portrayed him as a man drowning in pain take videos of him blowing out as first birthday candle playing the piano. They also talked about. The history of mental will health issues in his family. Lost Control wasn't Brent. Dining wasn't anyone. It makes no sense. I believe there is evil people to evil things and that he allowed himself to go down the starter pack. The jury deliberated for about eight hours over the course of today's read the sentence. There's no Yannis decision so the default it was to give him life in prison. It was not being Jones. Family head waited two years for the result today seem to encouraging people to do cries and me myself. We'll never agree with that. Oh you were furious with the the penalty did not happen. The MAURY fustrated Maure is point. You would like to kill him a yes if I have a child chooses you clichy all the Gola meeting meal. Eating saw COQUITLAM justice to unions. Family is the death penalty for Brent. Christianson may leave disappointed. But there's something else that comes out in court that outrages them it has to do with his visit to the White House. When Christianson went to the Counseling Center and eleven weeks before a kidnap gang? He was required to fill out this intake form. One of the questions is have you had homicidal title or suicidal thoughts and he checked the box. Yes the counselor. Intern asked him for a little bit. More information about that. Others plus harming others doc form serious. Humidity's these horrible critising talks about how he bought items that could be using the disposal of the body purchases it then he said but I'm not having these thoughts anymore. I'm done with these things but obviously he wasn't done with Ah. The intern did flag Christianson case and to specialize university counselors met with them. They offered Christianson different treatment. Options options including a follow visit but he never showed up. It certainly raises questions about whether or not somebody should have done. Something more with this information. Could they have prevented this murder but they're just gone public with central five thing. They can do something to stop Tom The whole case but they did so you might be. They do have a huge red flag angry. That could have been prevented that it wasn't necessary. Just eleven weeks. Prior to King's disappearance Brennan Hidden sought counseling with the school. Yeah I can't talk about anything that's a that's an aspect of the case. I'm sorry I know it's a sensitive one but that's that's really all I can say that. Yeah you can't talk about. Ask sorry I don't think they can deny liability the causing center and their stem. That's why we filed a civil level lawsuit naming two employees of the Housing Center. The counselors are trying to dismiss the suit saying that their actions uh-huh did not put in danger. The university recently sent us a statement saying it will defend the social workers named in the civil suit and that it's confident they followed best practices in mental health care After everything that has happened after all of the courtroom action who despite the lawsuit as displayed displayed Christensen being locked up for life. The family wants it traditional Chinese burial. It's something out with a new dog. And he's a Brent right now in prison. He knows everything about the family. Wanting one thing in their life to bring peace to where they walk ought to find somebody and their daughter we would you ask him to do so right now. He's been told not by own well. It's not something right now. I can't say anything. Welcome Mike. Richardson later leader called us to say there would soon be a revelation about the whereabouts of unions body whereas Christianson Feilipe leave offers up some information but will it offer things family solves the trial Silas over but the sense of this case being over. Is that pretty much. Everybody is still just kind of wondering. Wears yang-yang hangings family boyfriend were told about what he did with unions remains before the the trial Christmases attorneys went to the government and told them exactly where Christians and said he had put hangings body and those were not not on the record conversations. It couldn't be released publicly so that's why it was held in closed confidence and came out only after the trial was completed after killing hanging John on June. Nine two thousand seventeen. He placed her bodily remains in three separate garbage bags the next day June tenth two thousand seventeen. He plays those garbage bags in the dumpster immediately outside his apartment building the hauler would take it to the landfill in Danville. polential Joel says that the area is probably the size of half of a football field. By the time they provided that information and it's almost eighteen months after she would have been placed in the landfill. There's thirty feet of fill on top of the area where the trash would have been dumped at the time we know that he lied to the FBI so when he says this stuff. Can you go to the bank on it. Can you send hundreds of people out there to search and have him back in his cell laughing to me it just adds to the tragedy and yet you got. The family still wants to find the body family. Ever let this go. I think the only way for us to find some comfort and and the whole case is to find romance Remember life of a beautiful young lady. Who made her family very proud? A friend who was kind joyful caring sharing and giving then told Don assuming ninety thousand they actually brought in a casket and they put games starting in it and at the end of the service and of private burial jinks Garden Family went back to China but without unions body. And that's never going to be a culture for unions mother and father buzzsaw bundled with somebody Difficult for you to lose pictures now. Talk and Charlene. Lost the only woman then that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with you asked her to marry you. Land to gain berating Tober of these things so he wrote software and the name of the song is Joel. All right now I still feel she sounds all surrounding me issue Onto the university is pleased that the search after Ying Missing and they found out Darry most part in the book. It's written in Chinese but the very last line was English Union road. Life is too short to be ordinary Sadly authorities tell us it would be next to impossible to ever find her remains but Yingying will never never be forgotten by her many friends and her family. That's our program for tonight. I made me Rohbock for David and all of us here at twenty twenty good night. It's finally here here. You can download the Disney plus APP right now and start streaming the best of Disney Pixar Marvel Star Wars and National Geographic ad free. And wherever whenever you want them for more go to Disney plus dot com.