Family mourns UC Davis graduate killed in Russia
(KTXL) – The family of former UC Davis student Catherine Serou are in mourning after being found dead in Russia.
“Very close as children,” said Marie Serou.
Marie Serou and her older sister Catherine Serou grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana. They were close like children and even jokers.
“We started out by sharing a bed and she always complained that my fingernails were too sharp because I would be kicking in the middle of the night,” Marie Serou said.
Marie Serou says her sister was always looking for the next adventure as she got older.
“She toured Afghanistan. She was charge commander for Air Refueling Transport Squad 252, ”said Marie Serou.
After her stint in the Marines, Catherine Serou lived in Davis for a while before deciding on her next move.
“Got her bachelor’s degree from UC Davis, then a master’s degree in art history,” Marie Serou said. “She had a desk job coming up and she just wasn’t too excited about it. And she said to me: ‘I always wanted to go to Russia.’ “
In October 2019, she moved to Russia to study law.
More recently, Marie Serou said her sister is looking to start a business in Russia by teaching English. Things were going well until Marie Serou said she felt the need to reach out to her sister four days before she disappeared.
“I just reached out to say I miss you, love you, let’s talk about it soon,” Marie Serou said.
Marie Serou says her sister sent a disturbing text to their mother on June 15.
“She received three phone calls in a row, then the text: ‘I’m in a car with a stranger, I hope I’m not kidnapped.’ And then we haven’t heard from him since, ”said Marie Serou.
They don’t know how she got in the car and under what circumstances.
“The last time her cell phone rang it was in this forest in Russia,” Marie Serou said.
Then early Saturday morning, the family received a call saying their body had been found in a wooded area about 250 miles east of Moscow. As she tries to figure out what to do next, Marie Serou says she wished she had the chance to have this conversation with her sister.
“I would just say that I love you. I love you … Yeah, “said Marie Serou.
A man has been arrested for murder and has been brought to justice in a court in central Russia.
The family has settled down a GoFundMe page to help with funeral expenses and possible trips to Russia.
A former teacher of Catherine Serou sent a statement to FOX40:
I have only known Catherine for a few months, but she marked me a lot with her lively intelligence, her warmth and her humor. She was so articulate, thoughtful and kind – I can’t imagine a better unofficial ambassador for UC-Davis in Russia than Catherine. His passion for Russian culture was deep and contagious. I am truly heartbroken by his loss and extend my deepest condolences to his family.
Jenny Kaminer, Associate Professor of Russian, UC Davis
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