University student charged with first degree murder

Update: Monday, 3:20 p.m.: Yongfei Ci was charged with one count of first degree murder, one count of home invasion and one count of aggravated kidnapping in court Monday, according to the Office of the State’s Attorney.

A preliminary hearing will be held on Oct. 22 at 1:30 p.m. to see if there is enough probable cause for the case to continue.


University student Mengchen Huang, 25, has been identified as the victim in the Urbana Police Department’s ongoing homicide investigation, according to a press release from Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup.

Huang was a graduate student from Nanjing, China, enrolled in the School of Art and Design, said campus spokeswoman Robin Kaler.

An autopsy will be performed and an inquest may be held at a future date.

Suspect Yongfei Ci has been charged in connection with the death of Huang, and his bond has been set at $10 million according to the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office. Ci, 29, is the victim’s ex-boyfriend. He started at the University in 2008 and is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in math, Kaler said.

According to a press release from the Urbana Police Department, at around 11 a.m. Friday, officers were dispatched to 1343 N. Lincoln Ave. and directed to an apartment where they found Huang dead.

Mitchell Smith, vice president of operations for The Scion Group, which owns and manages One South, confirmed that the apartment was located at One South apartment complex, 1321 N. Lincoln Ave.

According to the female who reported the incident, the suspect forced his way into the apartment and detained two females inside. One female, who was secured in the bathroom, left the apartment uninjured and stopped a person in the area, who then reported the incident to police.

Local police and METCAD 911 were able to determine the possible location of the suspect using cellphone technology. The suspect was taken into custody at Value Place, a motel located at 1212 W. Anthony Drive in Champaign.

An Illini-Alert describing the suspect was issued around 12:45 p.m.

Kelsey Adler, junior in LAS, lives at One South and said she also received emails from One South notifying her of the homicide.

“I do feel safe because it was an isolated incident between two people,” Adler said. “It was between a boy and his ex-girlfriend ... He’s not going to go around shooting random people.”

Liang Ma, junior in Engineering, also lives at One South.

“I was not here, but I heard it on the news, and I was shocked,” Ma said. “Studying in Champaign is kind of safe ... although we sometimes receive crime alerts.”

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information can call the Urbana Police Department at 384-2320 or Crime Stoppers at 373-8477.

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