Missing UI scholar enters car

Missing UI scholar enters car

In this surveillance video provided by UI police, Yingying Zhang is seen entering a black Saturn Astra (unknown year) — about the 40-second mark — on the east side of Goodwin Avenue in Urbana. The final shot of the video, starting at about the 1:02 mark, is a reference for the vehicle and shows it traveling north on Wright Street in front of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Building.

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wayward wrote on June 12, 2017 at 11:06 am

It looks like the Saturn Astra might have only been produced between 2008-2010.  Any possibility that the Secretary of State's office could do a search?  I don't think it would be a super common make/model.

oldtruth wrote on June 12, 2017 at 12:06 pm

Great point, wayward. It's fortunate the car isn't common. 

Trying to piece together the locations in the video...

The corner where she enters the car looks like N Goodwin and W Clark by Campbell Hall. 

The car then continues north on N Goodwin. But where is that last image from? Can you place it? It's the last view shown in the video. 

Putting the events together...

We know that she texted the manager at One North apartments to say she would be late. That was 1:30 PM on Friday. She boarded the bus at 1:35 PM at the Orchard Downs South Shelter. That bus took her to Springfield & Mathews, where Google Maps directions suggest you must get off and board another bus in order to get to One North. That pattern suggests she is intending to go to One North. 

The next bus she needs has a stop at the SAME CORNER, but the SW corner of Springfield and Mathews, not the NE. (Again, using Google Maps directions for this.) The bus then heads to Goodwin and turns north at Goodwin and Springfield. 

How did she get to Goodwin and Clark? It's possible she walked, following the path of the bus. Would there be footage/records if she had indeed boarded her next bus and then gotten off shortly therafter? I presume there would be. 

So it's reasonable to conclude she walked, following the path of the bus, to N Goodwin and W Clark, where she was picked up by car. 

Khristine wrote on June 12, 2017 at 11:06 pm
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She was not standing at the 22 Illini bus stop. That stop is just north of the intersection of Goodwin and Clark streets. It appears to me that she is taking in the shade of the tree, but not on the sidewalk where most would stand. She's up close to the curb on the grass. The car actually pulls over to the side of the road as though in anticipation of meeting with her. My best guess is that this was someone she knew. Considering she's only been here a couple of months, likely she didn't know them well, but apparently well enough to get into the car with them after the typical polite conversation about not wanting someone to go out of their way to give you a ride. 

oldtruth wrote on June 13, 2017 at 8:06 am

Nice sluething! Google Maps has it wrong. As you say, you can see the sign to the north of the intersection, not south. 

Shade explanation makes sense. She could see the bus coming and wave to the driver. (Or she may have thought the stop was there because of Google Maps.)

justanothertownie97 wrote on June 13, 2017 at 1:06 pm

Oldtruth, that last video segment is on Wright St, heading North toward University Ave.  The camera is located at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering building at 306 N Wright St, Urbana.   I hope this helps.

cjw61822@hotmail.com wrote on June 12, 2017 at 12:06 pm

Nan Subiah


for those who have been in the area long enough.

oldtruth wrote on June 12, 2017 at 12:06 pm

The story you reference has a happy outcome: The woman is alive. In this case, we should HOPE it is merely a questionable tale of abduction. Or that she decided to visit friends up in Chicago and had her phone run out of battery. Or any other relatively positive story. 

Concluding that this case has any connection to the story you reference is premature at best, cruelly flippant at worst. 

Bulldogmojo wrote on June 12, 2017 at 12:06 pm


Did the police check with Uber or Lyft to see if they were called there?

oldtruth wrote on June 12, 2017 at 1:06 pm

Good question. Hopefully they did. 

I was just talking to a colleague about this and she noted that it would be odd to spend so much time talking to an Uber or Lyft driver before getting into the car. After all, you've identified your location as part of requesting the car. 

One other thing: She is on the right track to continue her bus ride. There is a bus stop at that location for the bus she needs to take to One North. 

To me, everything up until she gets into the car suggests she is trying to use MTD to get to One North. 

rsp wrote on June 12, 2017 at 1:06 pm

This looks like an opportunity, like someone had to convince her. If she hadn't been late maybe she wouldn't have got in. Something about it must have made her a little uncomfortable but she was distracted.

oldtruth wrote on June 12, 2017 at 2:06 pm

She got off the bus at 1:52, four minutes later than the bus was supposed to make it to that stop. Her next bus was scheduled to be at that stop at the same time. If she missed that bus (the 22), it would have been a 30 minute wait for the next one. That could have compounded her motivation to accept a ride from a stranger. 

wayward wrote on June 12, 2017 at 11:06 pm

Yup, I've used Uber and the drivers seem like they're often in a hurry.  The conversation lasts a few seconds and is just enough to verify that you're getting into the right car.  Also, Uber and Lyft would have records about which cars were sent where.

Interesting Reddit thread where someone said that a guy in a black sedan with a fake badge was pretending to be an undercover cop.  Maybe an international student would be especially vulnerable.



BigD wrote on June 12, 2017 at 10:06 pm

Jimmy Hoffa


for those who have been in the area long enough.

oldtruth wrote on June 13, 2017 at 8:06 am

This Reddit thread shares some troubling details about a man in a black sedan pretending to be an undercover police officer and attempting to get people into his car. 


It appears that the Facebook post with this detail was posted BEFORE the video was released, giving it greater veracity. And perhaps it means the man and car are still in the area. I hope everyone is keeping their eyes out.