A massive search is currently underway for a Chinese student in the United States who has not been seen or heard from for more than four days.
26-year-old Zhang Yingying is a visiting scholar at the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A Fujian-native with degrees from Peking University and Sun Yat-sen University, she arrived in the US about a month ago.
Zhang was last seen on Friday afternoon. Surveillance footage shared by the police shows a black Saturn Astra pulling up in front of her on a quiet road. She talks with the driver for a few minutes before getting in the vehicle at around 2:00 p.m.
She had told her friends that she was going to sign a lease on an apartment with her agent at a local agency. After she failed to return, Zhang’s friends called the police on Saturday. Police found that the last phone call she made was at 2:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon. Her agent had tried to contact her at 2:38 p.m., but she had not answered.
On Tuesday, UIUC Police Department Chief Jeff Christensen said that the police will do everything they can to find Zhang, adding that the FBI and other law enforcement agencies have offered to provide additional resources in the case.
Police said that they are working with ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft, hoping to identify the vehicle that drove Zhang away. For more police updates, you can check here.
Meanwhile, Zhang’s friends are trying to help in whatever way they can, spreading the word about her disappearance on Facebook, along with photos of her. News of Zhang’s disappearance has even made it back to her home country and has gone viral on Chinese social media.
Classmates have said that while Zhang is outgoing, she is also very careful. Her boyfriend told local media that whenever going out, she would always make sure to be protect herself.
“I feel really anxious,” SCMP quotes him as saying. “She is a smart girl and is cautious about protecting herself. Whenever she goes out, she will tell her classmates and teachers. She wouldn’t visit anyone alone.”
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