UC Davis alumna studying law in Russia found dead; suspect arrested, reports say

·2 min read

A graduate of UC Davis studying law in Russia was found dead on Saturday after going missing nearly a week ago, according to international news reports.

Catherine Serou, 34, graduated from the University of California, Davis, with a bachelor’s degree in design and a master’s degree in art history, according to an NPR report, and applied to a master’s program in law at Lobachevsky University in 2019.

The U.S. citizen went missing on Tuesday, and was found dead four days later in a wooded area near Bor, a town in the Nizhny Novgorod oblast more than 250 miles east of Moscow, according to a report from the Associated Press.

Lobachevsky University, where Serou was studying to become an immigration lawyer, is located in the city of Nizhny Novgorod. Bor, where Serou had been living, is just north of that city, on the other side of the Volga River.

Russian media reports indicated that a suspect was arrested, but was not identified by investigators. NPR reported that the man is in his early 40s and has past convictions for crimes, though they were not disclosed. Regional investigators in Russia opened a potential homicide case on Thursday.

The student’s mother, Beccy Serou, told NPR that she sent a text on Tuesday that read: “In a car with a stranger. I hope I’m not being abducted.” At the time, Serou had been trying to return to a clinic in Nizhny Novogorod, where she had tried to make a payment that didn’t go through, according to NPR. Beccy Serou told the news organization that she may have gotten into a passing car instead of waiting for an Uber.

Beccy Serou posted to social media Saturday confirming that investigators had found her daughter’s body. Prior to attending UC Davis, Serou had served in the Marines and served in Afghanistan.

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