Combo photo shows that missing Chinese scholar Zhang Yingying (L) and Brendt Christensen (R), arrested in connection with the disappearance of Zhang on June 9, 2017, in Champaign, the U.S. state of Illinois. (Courtesy: Macon County Sheriff's Office)
CHICAGO, July 14 (Xinhua) -- Champaign County Crime Stoppers Friday announced a rise in the reward for clues leading to whereabouts of missing Chinese scholar Yingying Zhang to 50,000 U.S. dollars at the request of Zhang's family.
Crime Stoppers representatives and Zhang's family jointly made the statement at a news conference held in the auditorium of the Illinois Fire Service Institute, Champaign.
The reward money will come from community donations to an online fundraising effort.
With the 10,000 dollars offered by FBI added, the total reward will be 60,000 dollars.
Zhang's family hoped that new information could aid the ongoing investigation.
In a statement Zhang's family made at the news conference, Zhang's family expressed their gratitude for the help and support they have got. "Yingying is our pride and joy. She is smart, hard-working, brave and kind," Zhang's family said. "We continue to maintain hope that she has survived this ordeal until we find her."
Zhang's family said they would consider additional reward if anyone can bring Zhang back safely.
Zhang, a visiting scholar at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), was last seen entering a black Saturn Astra car driven by 28-year-old Brendt Christensen on June 9. Police arrested Christensen for kidnapping 26-year-old Zhang on June 30, but Zhang's location is still unknown.
The FBI believes Zhang is deceased, based on facts presented in court and court documents and other facts uncovered during the ongoing investigation.
Christensen was indicted on July 12 by a federal grand jury on a criminal charge related to Zhang's abduction. He remains in custody.