A law student sent a chilling final message to her mum before she was found dead in a forest after taking a lift from a stranger.
Catherine Serou, a student and US Marines veteran from California, was found in a wooded area outside the Bor suburb where she lived in western Russia on Saturday (June 19) after going missing on Tuesday.
Her mum, Beccy Serou believes that 34-year-old may have gotten into a passing car for a lift rather than wait for her Uber after she received a horrifying final text from her daughter.
Catherine wrote in the message: “In a car with a stranger. I hope I’m not being abducted.”
Serou’s mum had believed she was headed back to a business to try to quickly clear up a payment issue, but has no idea what happened after receiving that message, according to reports.
Speaking to NPR, the mum said: “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 telephone last pinged off a cell tower in that forest.”
A surveillance photo reportedly shows Catherine looking out an open passenger-side window of a silver car around when she vanished.
Her disappearance sparked a search party of more than 100 volunteers to scour local forests.
A 44-year-old man was arrested about an hour after her body was found.
The accused man was not identified, but he has prior convictions and is cooperating, they said, according to the Moscow Times.
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The US Embassy in Moscow has said it is “closely monitoring” the probe into Catherine’s death.
The student was in Russia to begin studying law while learning the language so she could return to the States and work as an immigration attorney, reports said.
Catherine was enrolled at Lobachevsky University about 250 miles east of Moscow studying in its master’s law program, after having gotten a bachelor’s degree in design and a master’s in art history from the University of California at Davis.