Former US Marine Found Dead in Russian Forests; Had Feared Abduction Before Going Missing

Catherine Serou, a 34-year-old former Marine, was found dead four days after she went missing in Russia. In the last communication with her mother, Serou had expressed fear of getting abducted after she got in the car with a stranger.

A 44-year-old Russian man, identified as Alexander Popov, has been charged for murder of the former marine, according to Russian police, Popov has a history of violent crimes.

Catherine Serou
Catherine Serou Twitter

Serou Was Studying Law in Russian University

Serou was a Law student at Lobachevsky University in Nizhny Novgorod since the fall of 2019. Speaking to NPR, Serou's mother, Beccy Serou said that her daughter wanted to study Russian before applying for law school in the United States and pursuing a career as an immigration lawyer.

The former marine was staying outside the city, which is 420km east of Moscow. In the last text message sent to her mother in Mississippi on Tuesday evening, Serou had expressed fear of getting abducted. "In a car with a stranger. I hope I'm not being abducted."

Claiming that her daughter was in hurry as she had to return to a clinic in Nizhny Novgorod where she had made a payment that didn't go through, Beccy said that she might have taken lift from a passing . "I think that when she saw that the person wasn't driving to the clinic, but instead was driving into a forest, she panicked," Beccy Serou said in reference to the text message. "Her telephone last pinged off a cell tower in that forest."

Serou Had Undertaken Tour of Afghanistan

Serou, whose body was found in the a wooded area near the city of Nizhny Novgorod on Saturday had served in the Marine Corps and did one tour in Afghanistan before earning a bachelor's degree in design and a master's degree in art history at the University of California, Davis.

ABC 7 reported that following Serou's disappearance local volunteer groups posted missing persons notices in the area asking for Serou's sighting.

Earlier, a tabloid site had published a photo, apparently taken by a surveillance camera, showing Serou looking out of the open passenger window of a silver car. The police and local volunteers searched the forests north of Bor where the former Marine's last cellphone signal was picked up.