(CBS) – The 28-year-old suspect charged in the kidnapping a visiting Chinese scholar at the University of Illinois was ordered held without bond Wednesday.
Brendt Christensen is accused of abducting Yingying Zhang June 9 as she headed to sign an apartment lease. Authorities believe the 26-year-old is dead, though her body hasn’t been found.
CBS 2’s Brad Edwards reports.
A judge ordered Christensen, a physics student, held without bail, pending trial, during a hearing in federal court.
“I wasn’t surprised at the judge’s ruling today. It’s rare that a judge would grant bail in a case like this,” defense attorney Evan Bruno told reporters.
A search of Christensen’s phone revealed he visited an online forum back in April called “Abduction 101,” federal authorities say.
Surveillance video allegedly shows the moment he pulled over to talk to Ms. Jhang. She got in the car and they drove away.
During an interview last month with the FBI, Christensen admitted to giving the woman a ride, but said he let her out when she panicked.
Investigators recorded Christensen explaining how he kidnapped Jhang, took her back to his apartment and held her against her will, authorities say.
He was also seen here, participating in a vigil for Jhang. In court, it was reported he was under surveillance and at that very vigil was picking out other potential victims.
It’s alleged Christensen made a number of incriminating statements to others and spoke with other vigil attendees about the characteristics of the ideal victim.
Christensen is due back in court July 14.