Missing Chinese scholar’s family ‘sorrowful’ at new charge

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Family members of a missing University of Illinois scholar from China say they’re “sorrowful and grieved” that there’s more evidence to show she has died.

The statement released Wednesday from Yingying Zhang’s family comes after the latest indictment against a man accused in the case. Brendt Christensen previously was charged with the 26-year-old’s abduction. A new federal indictment filed Tuesday alleges Christensen intentionally killed Zhang in “an especially heinous, cruel, or depraved manner.”

The attorney for Zhang’s family issue a statement to the (Champaign) News-Gazette , saying her relatives “hope that the suspect will receive the punishment he deserves.”

If convicted, Christensen faces the death penalty or life in prison. He’s to be arraigned Wednesday on the updated charge.

Zhang disappeared June 9. Her body hasn’t been found.