MOSCOW - Russian news reports said searchers on Saturday found the body of an American student who went missing several days earlier and that a man has been arrested on suspicion of murder.
The body of Catherine Serou, 34, was found in a wooded area near the city of Bor, 400 kilometers (250 miles) east of Moscow, the reports said.
Local news reports said Serou was last seen on Tuesday after getting into a car. Her mother, Beccy Serou, of Vicksburg, Mississippi, told NPR that her daughter had last texted her: "In a car with a stranger. I hope I’m not being abducted."
Russia’s Investigative Committee said in a statement that a woman’s body was found in Bor and that a suspect with a record of serious crimes had been arrested, but did not give names. The cause of death was not specified.
Catherine Serou moved from California to Russia in 2019 to study law at a university in Nizhny Novgorod, a major city adjacent to Bor, news reports said.
Beccy Serou told NPR that her daughter was in a hurry to get to a clinic Tuesday and may have gotten into a passing car.
"I think that when she saw that the person wasn’t driving to the clinic, but instead was driving into a forest, she panicked," Beccy Serou said.
On Sunday, court in central Russia on Sunday arraigned a suspect for the murder. Russian news reports have identified the suspect as Alexander Popov and said he had a record of violent crimes.
He faces up to life in prison if convicted of murder.
"We are closely monitoring local authorities’ investigation into the cause of death," a U.S. State Department spokesperson said in a statement to FOX Television Stations. "We are providing all appropriate assistance to the family."
The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.