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Yingying's family holds onto hope, raises reward

The family has been in the United States for almost a month, and said they're not leaving without Yingying. (WCCU)

Yingying’s family holds onto hope, offering up to $50,000 for information leading to the missing scholar's return, and the possibility of more for her safe return.

Yingying’s boyfriend, Xiaolin Hou, read a message from the family at the news conference on Friday.

"Yingying is our pride and joy,” Hou said. She is smart, hardworking, brave and kind."

The family came to Illinois just days after Yingying disappeared--on a mission to bring her home. That mission hasn't changed.

Just days after Yingying disappeared, the family and Hou arrived to the University of Illinois campus—on a mission to bring the scholar home. That mission hasn’t changed.

"We know Yingying wants to be with us and we will not leave the United States without her, Hou said.”

The $50,000 reward will come from Yingying’s family, using the money that was donated to them through GoFundMe.

The family partnered with Crime Stoppers, an anonymous tip line that offers rewards for useful information.

"We guarantee anonymity,” Champaign County Crime Stoppers President John Hecker said. “We do not know who the informant is. We do not want to know who the informant is."

No tip is too small, as information learned from a tip has already made a big difference in this case.

"Investigators were able to make an arrest, in part from information shared with them by people in Champaign-Urbana," Hou said. “We are so grateful for their courage and compassion.”

After the arrest of kidnapping suspect Brendt Christensen, the FBI said they no longer believe Yingying is alive—but the family remains optimistic.

“We continue to maintain hope that she has survived this horrible ordeal until we find her,” Hou said.

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