Yingying Zhang investigation goes from missing person to kidnapping case: Part 2

Video showed a black sedan pull up beside Zhang, who got in the car. A fellow student at the University of Illinois told police a man had approached her to get in his car earlier that same day.
6:29 | 11/16/19

Coming up in the next {{countdown}} {{countdownlbl}}

Coming up next:



Skip to this video now

Now Playing:


Related Extras
Related Videos
Video Transcript
Transcript for Yingying Zhang investigation goes from missing person to kidnapping case: Part 2
Tell me what happened that day out here. Yingying Zhang was on her way to an apartment complex to sign a lease. She got on a bus from one of the campus housing facilities. She gets off a bus. She gets off on one side of the street, her connecting bus is on the other side of the street. She misses it by seconds. The surveillance video shows her running after the bus. After 2:00 P.M., she's at the bus stop. Yingying is standing on the corner, probably hoping that she can just catch a break. Then they make a critical discovery on a camera at the parking garage right across the street from where she was waiting for a bus. You had no idea how to find where she went. Mm-hmm. Until this. Yeah, it was like literally trying to find a needle in a haystack. So here you realize, here's the needle. Here's the needle. The camera captured her standing there. And when we watched that video further, there was a black sedan that drove by her, actually turned in front of her east, circled around the block and then pulled up next to her and stopped. And it appeared that the driver rolled down the passenger's side window and I saw yingying look inside. It was a pretty eerie video to watch. As soon as the car drives up, basically, and stops right by yingying, I'm just thinking, like, "Don't get into the car. Don't get into the car." But then you see that she walks It was a discussion between yingying and the driver for about a minute. And then she eventually got in the car. She opened the passenger side door and got in, and it shut, and then just drove right off the camera. The video footage from that camera dramatically changed the scope of the investigation 'cause now we didn't just have a missing persons case, now we had a suspect vehicle. She got into a car with a person, whoever was driving that vehicle knew exactly what happened to her. Once she got in the car, we realized, "Okay, we're dealing with a kidnapping here." Through that video we were trying to figure out, "Okay, what kind of car is this?" You could not see from the distance. It got too pixelated as you came in close. You could not get a view of the driver. Could not get a view of the license plate. And so the FBI got involved. That vehicle is a very unique vehicle. It was identified as a Saturn astra, which was only produced for a very short time frame and imported into the United States. It's a very rare vehicle. If it was a Honda accord, Toyota Camry, in champaign county, I would imagine there's probably thousands of common vehicles. This car, I believe, there was only 58 in the state. There was nothing more important than determining who owned the car, whether they could make any identification of the driver, and then go talk to that person. The FBI has been treating this as a kidnapping. Campus police say surveillance video shows her entering a black Saturn astra vehicle. The fact that the police were releasing the video gave it a renewed sense of, this is a serious situation. The posters of yingying and the car were hung up all around campus. I think students on campus were very concerned. How much fear was there amongst the other students here when this started to unfold? Everybody was kind of really, really frightened, especially the females. And just thinking about how many times you see young females, college students walking around in the area by themselves. And I think it was a huge eye-opener. I think the biggest theory of her disappearance was that somebody did take her. I know there was big talk of, like, a sex trafficking ring. One has to think if there is someone driving around the campus scanning for potential victims that it's someone from the greater community, but certainly not someone who's a student on that campus. A lot of students don't even have vehicles. It got more frightening when this British grad student named Emily hogan tells police that earlier the same day that yingying went missing, a man tried to get her into his car. She said a white male in a black sedan pulled up next to her, identified himself as an undercover police officer and asked her to get in his car to answer a few questions about things going on in the neighborhood. Emily described seeing mirrored sunglasses and being shown a badge. She declined, and then she immediately calls the police. Do you remember, like, hearing anything -- like, police would have a police scanner or a radio. No scanner, no radio. What if you saw a picture of him? Would you be able to say that was him? Because of the sunglasses -- It would be tough? Emily hogan is so rattled that she posts about the encounter on Facebook. This is hours before yingying's kidnapping. She warns people, "Don't get in a car even if they say they are police or have a badge." If yingying had just seen that post, perhaps she might never gotten picked up. It was just scary to know that somebody was out there, just driving around wanting to pick up women. Across the ocean, in China, that video of yingying getting into that black Saturn is seen on Chinese media. One of the people watching that was someone very, very close to yingying, her serious boyfriend xiaolin Hou. I saw that video. I don't know what happened after she get into the car and I also have some bad feelings. Days went by and nothing happened? Yeah, nothing happened, and we decided to go to the United States to look for her by ourselves. Yingying's boyfriend and her family wanted to do something that the FBI could not do. Just find out for themselves exactly what happened to her. They saw a girl in a small town. An Asian girl, just look like So you rushed right down? Yeah, we went there. They said the girl was her. Some of them even said, definitely it's her. Needles. Essential for the sea urchin,

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

{"duration":"6:29","description":"Video showed a black sedan pull up beside Zhang, who got in the car. A fellow student at the University of Illinois told police a man had approached her to get in his car earlier that same day.","mediaType":"default","section":"ABCNews/2020","id":"67057774","title":"Yingying Zhang investigation goes from missing person to kidnapping case: Part 2","url":"/2020/video/yingying-zhang-investigation-missing-person-kidnapping-case-part-67057774"}