"I hope I'm not being abducted, '" said MS resident Beccy Serou.
Ms Serou was a former US Marine who had completed a tour in Afghanistan and moved to Russian Federation in 2019 to study for a master's degree in law at Nizhny Novgorod's Lobachevsky State University. Russian news reports have identified the suspect as Alexander Popov and said he had a record of violent crimes.
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.
Serou's mother, Beccy Serou, told NPR last week that her daughter was in a hurry last Tuesday to return to a clinic in the city of Nizhny Novgorod, about 250 miles east of Moscow, where she had made a payment that didn't go through.
"It says: 'In a vehicle with a stranger".
Beccy Serou, the victim's mother, told NPR on Saturday that the last text she received from her daughter was regarding the ride she took with Popov.
Search teams and volunteers had been looking for Serou in a forested area outside the city where her phone signal was last picked up.
Catherine would never write her mother again.
The body of Catherine Serou, a 34-year-old law student and veteran from California, was found Saturday morning.
In a statement to NPR, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow said it was "closely monitoring local authorities' investigation into the cause of death" and "providing all appropriate assistance to the family".
"I think that when she saw that the person wasn't driving to the clinic, but instead was driving into a forest, she panicked", said Beccy Serou.
She planned on applying to law school in the U.S.to become an immigration lawyer after completing a master's program at Lobachevsky University.
Her mother Beccy Serou told United States media on Friday that her daughter had been in a hurry to return to a clinic where a payment had not gone through and may have hitched a lift with a passing auto instead of waiting for her Uber.