More than $11,000 raised for family of U.S. student with Vicksburg ties killed in Russia

Published 7:04 am Tuesday, June 22, 2021

A GoFundMe campaign established by the sister of Catherine Serou, a law student who was killed in Russia, has raised more than $11,000 in 24 hours.

The purpose of the fundraiser, Marie-Claire Serou wrote, is to help pay for funeral expenses for Catherine, as well as family travel to Russia to obtain Catherine’s remains, and to California and Washington, D.C. to settle her affairs.

On the GoFundMe webpage, Marie-Claire described her sister as someone who could “do anything.”

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“Brilliant and beautiful, she found joy in learning, growing, eating, traveling, building, crafting and caring for animals,” she said. “A former Marine in the Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252, she was a certified Diesel Mechanic, had gotten an associates degree in Anthropology and Photography from Los Rios Community College, a Bachelor’s Degree in Design from UC Davis, A Master’s Degree in Art History from UC Davis and she was pursuing a Masters Degree in Law from Nizhny Novgorod State University in Russia when her life was tragically cut short.”
On June 15 at 7:17 p.m. MSK, Marie-Claire said Catherine sent her last message to their family: “I’m in a car with a stranger. I hope I’m not being abducted.”

According to their mother Beccy Serou, a Vicksburg resident, Catherine was traveling to a clinic 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 told The Associated Press.
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.

“We need your help to honor her memory,” Marie-Claire wrote. “…We would like to hold a funeral befitting a veteran. … We appreciate the support we’ve received from friends in the community, and we appreciate the support you continue to give.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.