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FBI: Search for visiting Chinese scholar is agency priority

Ronggao Zhang, center, father of missing Yingying Zhang, listens as he joins, from left, Yingying's best friend, Yige Yang, aunt Liqin Ye and boyfriend, Xiaolin Hou, far right, for an interview at The News-Gazette in Champaign, Ill., on Thursday, June 22, 2017. The Thursday evening gathering at Altgeld Hall in Urbana comes two weeks after Yingying Zhang, 26, disappeared. (Heather Coit/The News-Gazette via AP)

URBANA, Ill. (AP) — The FBI says the search for a visiting Chinese scholar missing from the University of Illinois is a national priority for the agency.

Jon Holloway, assistant special agent in charge of criminal investigation at the Springfield FBI office, discussed the FBI’s efforts Thursday night at a campus meeting about 26-year-old Yingying Zhang’s disappearance.

Holloway says updates are being regularly sent to the office of the FBI’s acting director and U.S. field offices.

Zhang was last seen on a surveillance video getting into a black Saturn Astra in Urbana on the afternoon of June 9. Police have labeled the case a kidnapping but haven’t ruled out other scenarios.

Earlier Thursday, her father Ronggao Zhang made an emotional appeal for his daughter’s safe return in an interview with The (Champaign) News-Gazette.

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