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FBI offers $10K reward to help find missing Chinese scholar

The FBI is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information that'll help locate a visiting scholar from China who disappeared from the University of Illinois.

Yingying Zhang, 26, from China's Fujian Province, has been missing from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) since June 9.

The FBI has labeled the case a kidnapping, but isn't ruling anything out.

Zhang’s arrived at the Chicago on Saturday and met the school authority and the police.

Security video footage released by the police showed that Zhang went missing around 2 p.m. on June 9 after getting into a black Saturn Astra hatchback on the brink of the UIUC campus.

Zhang was last seen wearing a charcoal-colored baseball cap, pink and white top, jeans and white tennis shoes and carrying a black backpack, according to the police.

According to Campus police spokesman Patrick Wade, at least four FBI agents are in Urbana working on the case and helping Illinois State Police sort through tips and other information. Detectives were also examining Zhang's cellphone records and working with ride-hailing companies such as Uber to see if she may have called for a ride.

Police released the video last week in hopes that the public could provide more information about the car or the driver.

As of Wednesday evening, they hadn't identified either. The license-plate number wasn't legible in the video, Wade said.

The suspect is a white man who circled the area in the car on Friday afternoon before stopping to talk to Zhang, according to the FBI.

Wade asked any individuals who may have dash-cams in their cars to check the footage to see if they may have caught the car driving around town.

"If anyone sees anything, if anyone recognized the car or knows anything at all, we're just trying to get that word out as far as we can," he said.

Zhang was working in the University of Illinois' Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, researching photosynthesis and crop productivity.

Campus spokeswoman Robin Kaler said her appointment as a visiting scholar runs through April 2018.

Anyone with information can call 911 or the UI Police Department at 217-333-1216, or email

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