Authorities Explain What Happened to US Student Found Dead in Russia

Catherine Serou was picked up at a bus stop by Alexander Popov, they say
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 21, 2021 1:06 AM CDT
Updated Jun 21, 2021 5:41 AM CDT
Authorities Explain What Happened to American Student Killed in Russia
Alexander Popov, a man who was arrested on suspicion of murder sits behind the glass in a courtroom in the city of Gorodets, 36 miles north-west of Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, Sunday, June 20, 2021.   (AP Photo/Roman Yarovitsyn)

A suspect has been charged with murdering the American student found dead in Russia after sending her mom a chilling text. Police say Alexander Popov has a history of violent crimes, the AP reports. Per CNN, he allegedly saw Catherine Serou, 34, at a bus stop on the night of June 15 and offered her a ride, during which she sent her mom the message saying she hoped she wasn't "being abducted." About an hour later, Popov allegedly stopped in a forested area, where the two argued and he then punched Serou multiple times and stabbed her at least twice. She died at the scene, and her body was found in the area on Saturday.

Serou's mom tells NPR that her daughter was rushing to try to get to a clinic where a payment she had attempted to make didn't go through, and may have decided to get into a passing car rather than wait for her 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 says. She adds, on Facebook, "As our family processes this news we’ll have more to say." The US Embassy in Moscow says it is "monitoring local authorities' investigation into the cause of death" and "providing all appropriate assistance to the family." Serou, who had served in the Marine Corps, moved to Russia to study in 2019; she was pursuing an eventual career as an immigration lawyer. (More Russia stories.)

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