United States of America

Who is Catherine Serou?

Missing American Student Found Dead in Russia

Catherine Serou is an American law student who went missing after getting into an unidentified car. Her last communication was with her mother in which she said, “in a car with a stranger, I hope I am not being abducted.”

Catherine Serou Age 

Catherine Serou, 34, was a former US marine who had completed a tour in Afghanistan and moved to Russia in 2019 to study for a master’s degree in law at Nizhny Novgorod’s Lobachevsky State University. Serou lived outside the city, which is 420 km (260 miles) east of Moscow and she texted her mother just after 18:30 local time (15:30 GMT) on Tuesday.

Catherine Serou Mother 

Serou’s mother, Beccy Webb Serou, wrote on her Facebook on June 19, “Thank you all for your help trying to help get Catherine home safe. Unfortunately, we got a call from the police this morning telling us they found the body. As our family processes this news we’ll have more to say.”

 Suspect Identified as P arrested 

According to CNN, a suspect identified only as “P” was arrested following the murder of Serou and appeared at Gorodetsky City court. His full name was reported as Aleksey Popov and according to the daily beast, Popov was the driver of the car Serou was last known to be in. Popov is a resident of Nizhny Novgorod born in 1977 with a criminal record, authorities told CNN. There are no other details that have been made available to the public.

Serou Served in the U.S Marine and was a graduate of the University of California-Davis 

According to her mother, Serou was studying law and was one of two Americans studying at Lobachevsky State University of Nizhny Novgorod. Her mother also added that she grew up in New Orleans and had Russian Friends and learned the language.

“She enjoyed the language Nizhny Novgorod so much, she loved her life in a Russian family, her friends at the University.” She said her daughter taught English in Russia along with her studies. “Catherine was always a big fan of Russian art, she also weaved scarves and sold them at a kiosk in Nizhny Novgorod.” Her mother told the daily beast.

According to Serou’s LinkedIn profile, Serou graduated from Cedar Park High School in Texas in 2005 and spent a year studying business management and administration at Purdue University, where she was in the Alpha Xi Delta sorority and a member of the varsity women’s crew team. She joined the Marines in 2006 and was deployed to Afghanistan.

She graduated from the University of California Davis in 2017 with a degree in design and later completed her master’s degree in art history in 2019. While at UC Davis, she was also a graduate teaching assistant and graduate student researcher. She wrote on her LinkedIn account, “worked to develop a new, sensor-based approach to exterior lighting for security applications for the Office of Naval Research. This project has the potential to enhance the effectiveness of security personnel while dramatically reducing energy use.”

Serou’s Mother Found a Message 40 minutes after She was Abducted 

Becci Serou told the daily beast she, “found a message from Catherine, it said: ‘In a car with a stranger. I hope I’m not being abducted. I realized she had sent me that note 40 minutes before I found it. I tried to reach her but her phone was off. Later police tracked her phone in the woods near the town of Bor. … I could not sleep for three nights, thinking if she got away from him— her being a strong athlete, trained to survive.”

According to CNN, the suspect Popov picked Serou on Tuesday, June, 15 at about 7 p.m. Police told CNN he saw her at a bus stop and offered her a ride. Authorities told the news network that about an hour later, the suspect stopped in a wooded area and hit Serou several times with his fist, and stabbed her at least twice. Serou died at the scene, according to CNN.

The suspect in Serou’s murder had “repeatedly” been convicted of “especially grave crimes,”

Alexander Popov Arrested 

Alexander Popov, 43, was arrested on suspicion of murder and appeared in court to be arraigned on Sunday. Mr. Popov reportedly has a record of violent crimes and faces life imprisonment if convicted. Aleksey Zorov, a local politician, told The Daily Beast, “Our society is degrading, criminals feel unpunished, murderers come out of jail after 6-7 years and commit crimes again; the man who raped and killed the American student should get the capital sentence.”


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