Man involved in disappearance of Chinese student denied bail

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Washington, July 6 (IANS) US Magistrate Judge Eric Long on Wednesday denied bail and ordered the man accused of kidnapping University of Illinois’ visiting Chinese scholar Yingying Zhang to be held in jail indefinitely until he goes on trial.

Brendt Christensen, 28, of Champaign, a former UI graduate student from Wisconsin, was making his second court appearance at the federal courthouse in Urbana on Wednesday afternoon. The suspect did not speak during the 20 minutes’ hearing.

Long called Christensen both a flight risk and a danger to the community because of evidence presented by US attorney Bryan Freres.

Long said the denial of bail is based on four points: first, the nature of kidnapping is seriously bad; second, the evidence presented by prosecutors is strong; third, the suspect is no tight relation with community and he is unemployed for long time; four, Christensen is a potential danger for public if he is freed.

Christensen’s next court date is a preliminary hearing on July 14, unless a grand jury returns an indictment before then.

Even if it does, it’s possible Christensen could be arraigned in court that day, said Sharon Paul, a spokeswoman for the US attorney’s office.

Christensen is accused of luring Zhang into his car as she was waiting for a bus in Urbana and then holding her hostage in his Champaign apartment. Zhang has not been seen since and authorities said on June 30 that she is presumed dead.

–IANS

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