One year after the kidnapping of Chinese visiting scholar Yingying Zhang at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), the biggest hope of Zhang's family remains to find Yingying.
The Daily Illini, an independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois, has posted on its website a statement from Xiaolin Hou, Zhang's boyfriend.
"Our biggest hope will forever be to find Yingying and to bring her home," the statement says. The family hopes the police won't stop searching and people will continue paying attention to and providing clues. "We will never give up unless we find Yingying. No matter where she is right now, we believe we will be reunited one day."
In the statement, Zhang's family expressed their thanks to the police, the Chinese consulate, the school and the people who have helped them all the way throughout the year. "We will forever remember all the things everybody has done for Yingying and for us."
The family also reminds all Chinese students studying abroad: "Please learn to be careful and take care of yourselves when you're away from home and keep your families from worrying."
On the way to sign a rent lease, 26-year-old Zhang went missing after entering a black Saturn Astra sedan on June 9, 2017. She has not been seen or heard from since.
Police arrested 28-year-old Brendt Christensen, a former UI doctoral student, on June 30, 2017, charging him with kidnapping, torturing and killing Zhang. The trial is set for April 2, 2019. Christensen will face death penalty if found guilty of kidnapping resulting in death.