News Local/State

Filing: FBI Searched Cell Of Man Charged In Scholar’s Death

Brendt Christensen

Brendt Christensen made his first court appearance Monday in the disappearance of University of Illinois scholar Yingying Zhang. He is being held in the Macon County Jail in Decatur. Macon County Jail

Attorneys for the man charged with kidnapping and killing Chinese scholar Yingying Zhang at the University of Illinois in Urbana say the FBI searched his jail cell when he was in court.

Brendt Christensen's attorneys now want a judge to force the FBI to divulge what they found in Friday's search. They filed a motion Sunday requesting a hearing.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Christensen , who's charged in the 2017 abduction and death of 26-year-old Yingying Zhang. Authorities haven't found her body.

The News-Gazette reports Christensen's attorneys say the FBI came to the Livingston County jail when he was in court Friday in Peoria, searched his belongings and interviewed his fellow inmates.

They allege agents violated Christensen's right against unlawful searches and seizures by showing up without warning and without a search warrant.