MOSCOW (rferl): Russian authorities searching for an American graduate student who went missing this week in the Nizhny Novgorod region have discovered a body thought to be that of the woman, Catherine Serou.
Police opened a criminal investigation after the 34-year-old Serou was reported to have gotten into a car with a stranger on June 15.
Officers and more than 100 volunteers were said to have been searching a forested area outside the city, which is about 400 kilometers east of Moscow.
Serou’s mother, who is in Mississippi, told U.S. National Public Radio (NPR) that she last heard from her daughter in a text message that said: “In a car with a stranger. I hope I’m not being abducted.”
Serou had reportedly sold her California condominium two years ago to finance her trip to Russia to study the language before she applied for law school.
She enrolled in a master’s program in law at Lobachevsky University in Nizhny Novgorod in the fall of 2019, according to NPR.
A local Russian search-and-rescue group, Rys (Lynx), whose volunteers were helping in the search, posted news of the discovery of the body and expressed condolences to Serou’s family.