Memorial garden to honor University of Illinois scholar
Yingying Zhang, 26, a visiting scholar from China at the University of Illinois, went missing from the Champaign-Urbana campus on June 9, 2017. (Photo provided by University of Illinois police)
The University of Illinois is funding a memorial garden for a scholar from China who went missing last year.
The campus memorial will be created near the spot where Yingying Zhang was last seen.
It will be completed next month.
The memorial comes after friends of Zhang and volunteers in the search placed flowers and stuffed animals at the site.
Yingying Zhang's mother (center) (Photo: VCG)
Dean Kim Kidwell said she witnessed incredible grace, compassion and commitment as Zhang's friends and family stood side by side, day after day hoping she would return.
The dean said the bonds Zhang created with people were permanent, and Zhang will not be forgotten.
The memorial was suggested by Zhang's friends and the Chinese Students and Scholars Association.
It will feature a path leading to a bench with an engraved stone.
The stone will be surrounded by greenery and white flowering plants.
These colors were chosen to reflect the somber ambiance of a memorial garden.
Campus spokeswoman Robin Kaler helped coordinate the project, and calls it stunningly beautiful.
Suspect Brendt Christensen (Photo: VCG)
Brendt Christensen is charged with the kidnapping and death of Zhang, who went missing on June 9 last year.
Government attorneys announced in January that they plan to seek the death penalty. Christensen allegedly tortured Zhang before killing her. Her body hasn't been found.
Jury selection for the trial is scheduled to begin April.
(Produced by He Jieqiong; article from AP)