"In a car with a stranger. I hope I'm not being abducted." The ominous text was the last thing Beccy Serou heard from her 34-year-old daughter. Catherine Serou, a former Marine who was completing graduate studies in Russia, hadn't been heard from since sending the Tuesday text, sparking an investigation near Nizhny Novgorod, some 250 miles east of Moscow, reports NPR. Her body was found following a three-day search that had focused on a forested area beyond the city where Serou's cell phone was last detected. Radio Free Europe reports a suspect in his 40s who has been convicted of "grave and especially grave crimes" has been detained in relation with the American's murder.
Serou, who had a bachelor's degree in design and a master's degree in art history from the University of California, Davis, moved to Russia in 2019 to complete a master's program in law at Lobachevsky University ahead of a plan to enroll in law school in the US. Her mother noted her background, hopefully telling NPR, "She is a Marine, she has got survival skills." Beccy Serou, who lives in Vicksburg, Miss., says the two spoke daily, and that on Tuesday her daughter had been headed to a clinic where a payment she had made didn't go through. Beccy Serou told NPR she suspected her daughter was in a hurry and perhaps didn't wait for her Uber to arrive but rather got into a passing car. (Read more Russia stories.)