The family of murdered New Orleans native and former U.S. Marine veteran Catherine Serou is attempting to retrieve her body from Russia after her alleged killer was identified and arraigned on Sunday.
The last Serou’s family heard from her was a text message saying she was in a car with a stranger and she was concerned she might be abducted.
Now, the 34-year-old’s family is asking for donations to bring her body back to the U.S. and give her a funeral “befitting a veteran,” FOX 8 Live reported.
“We need your help to honor her memory,” Marie-Claire Serou, her sister, wrote on the GoFundMe page. “Repatriating her remains will require travel to Russia, and we would like to hold a funeral befitting a veteran.”
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Her sister noted that Serou was a former Marine in the Aeriel Refueler Transport Squadron 252, a certified diesel mechanic, and on her way to receiving a master’s degree in law from Nizhny Novgorod State University in Russia after obtaining degrees at UC Davis in Design and Art History.
She served five years as a Marine starting in 2006, with a tour in Afghanistan from November 2008 to April 2009. Serou earned various citations, including the National Defense Service and Marine Corps Good Conduct medals, according to NOLA.com.
Serou’s body was found Saturday in a wooded area near Nizhny Novgorod, a city some 250 miles east of Moscow. She had been missing since Tuesday, when she sent her family a message that read: “In a car with a stranger. I hope I’m not being abducted.”
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Authorities have not determined why Serou was in the car with the stranger, whom Russian news agencies have identified as Alexander Popov. Her mother, Beccy Serou, claimed her daughter was trying to get to a clinic.
Popov allegedly drove Serou to the woods, where he beat and stabbed her repeatedly. He has a record of violent crimes and faces up to life in prison if convicted of murder.
Popov was arraigned Sunday to face charges.
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The GoFundMe page surpassed its $10,000 within a day, and is on its way to double that amount.