According to Russian authorities, an American lady studying in Russia was found dead four days after she went missing.
Russia’s Investigative Committee said 34-year-old Catherine Serou’s body was found following a large-scale police search.
A man in his 40s who had previously been convicted of multiple serious crimes was arrested on suspicion of abducting and murdering Serou and was cooperating with the investigation, police said.
Serou’s mother, Beccy Serou, told NPR she moved to Russia from California and enrolled in a law masters at Nizhny Novgorod’s Lobachevsky University in Moscow in the fall of 2019.
Authorities launched a search for her in the city of Nizhny Novgorod, about 250 miles from Moscow. She went missing after leaving her house in Bor, a suburb of the city, on Tuesday evening after getting into an unknown vehicle.
Her mother said Serou sent her a text message on Tuesday evening, saying she was in a car with a stranger.
“It says: ‘In a car with a stranger. I hope I’m not being abducted.’ And that’s the last thing she wrote,” her mother said.
She said that Serou was in a rush to get to a clinic where she had made an unsuccessful payment and may have hopped into a passing car instead of waiting for an Uber.
“I think that when she saw that the person wasn’t driving to the clinic, but instead was driving into a forest, she panicked,” her mother explained.
Serou enlisted in the Marine Corps and spent one tour in Afghanistan before graduating from the University of California, Davis with a bachelor’s degree in design and a master’s degree in art history.