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Family of New Orleans native murdered in Russia working to get her home

Catherine Serou got into a car with a stranger June 15, police found her body Saturday.
Updated: Jun. 21, 2021 at 9:33 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A suspect has been arrested and charged with murder in Russia following the death of an American student and New Orleans native, Catherine Serou.

“I’m in a car with a stranger. I hope I’m not being abducted.”

That was the last message 34 year-old Catherine Serou’s family would ever get from her. Three days later, she was found stabbed to death in a wooded area about 250 miles east of Moscow by Russian Police.

According to the local court, Alexander Popov allegedly picked Serou up around 7 p.m. local time June 15. The reason is unknown at this time.

They were in the car for an hour when Popov allegedly stopped in a wooded area and began to hit Serou repeatedly with his fist, then stabbed her at least twice, killing the New Orleans native.

She was pursuing a Masters Degree in Law at a Russian university in Nizhny Novgorod according to a GoFundMe started by Serou’s sister, who still lives in New Orleans.

Serou’s sister is asking for donations to help bring her body back to the U.S. and give her a funeral “befitting a veteran.”

Her sister went on to write Serou was a former Marine in the Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252, a certified Diesel Mechanic, and had associates degrees in anthropology and photography, a bachelors degree in design, and a masters in Art History.

Before serving in Afghanistan, Serou attended Benjamin Franklin High School through her junior year, according to a school spokesperson who added they are shocked and saddened, but relieved to learn there is a suspect in custody and hope justice will be served.

Popov has been arrested and indicted on murder charges and could face a life sentence if convicted.

Russian officials say Popov has a violent record, convicted repeatedly of grave crimes.

We reached out to Serou’s family that is still here in New Orleans, but have not heard back.

To protect the family’s privacy, the offices of Louisiana Senators Cassidy and Kennedy couldn’t comment Monday night.

The GoFundMe page has surpassed its 10,000 dollar goal.

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