Authorities in Russia have arrested a man in connection with the murder of a U.S. student who was reported missing on June 15. Catherine Serou, 34, was a former Marine and studying law as a graduate student at the State University of Nizhny Novgorod, which is about 270 miles east of Moscow.
Serou was last heard from by her mother on June 15, when she sent her a text saying she was in a car with an unidentified person.
"It says: 'In a car with a stranger. I hope I'm not being abducted.' And that's the last thing she wrote," Serou's mother Beccy said in an interview with NPR. "She's out there in this forest, I think, relying on her wits — if she hasn't been killed — to stay alive."
Around 100 volunteers and police were searching a wooded area outside the city where a signal from her cell phone was last detected. It is unclear where her body was found or who discovered it.
"We can confirm the death of a U.S. citizen, Catherine Serou, in Russia," the U.S. Embassy in Moscow told CNN. "We offer our sincerest condolences to the family on their loss. We are closely monitoring local authorities' investigation into the cause of death. We are providing all appropriate assistance to the family."
Authorities have not released the identity of the suspect, who was arrested on suspicion of abducting and murdering Serou. He has a lengthy history with law enforcement, including convictions for what authorities described as "especially grave crimes."