Relatives ask for help in search for missing U of I scholar

CHICAGO (AP) - Relatives of a Chinese scholar who disappeared from the University of Illinois are pleading for help in the search to find her.

Yingying Zhang's father, aunt and boyfriend took part in a candlelight vigil on Saturday night. Through an interpreter, Ronggao Zhang pleaded with his daughter to "hold on, don't give up."

The 26-year-old woman was last seen climbing into a black Saturn Astra in Urbana on the afternoon of June 9. Police have said they suspect the woman was kidnapped. Last week, the FBI called the search for the scholar a national priority for the agency.

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 Zhang's disappearance.

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

Crime Stoppers has offered a $40,000 reward for any information that leads to Zhang.

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