American Student Studying Abroad In The Netherlands Found Stabbed To Death And Her Roommate's In Custody

"She just thought that she was at least there for him, and I don't know what he thought differently," Sarah Papenheim's mother said of her relationship with her roommate.

By Gina Tron
Digital Original
5 Infamous Cold Cases of Murder

An American student studying abroad in the Netherlands was stabbed to death and her roommate is in custody.

Police were alerted to a dispute at an apartment in Rotterdam on Wednesday, where they found 21-year-old Minnesota native Sarah Papenheim with multiple stab wounds, CNN reports. Although first responders tried to resuscitate her, she died of her injuries.

A 23-year-old man was arrested shortly after at a train station in Eindhoven, about 60 miles away from the apartment. His name has not yet been released but the victim’s mother, Donee Odegard, told KARE 11 in Minneapolis that he is her daughter's roommate.

The two slept in separate bedrooms but shared the home’s common areas, CNN reports.

Papenheim, who had lived in the Netherlands for two years, was a psychology student at Erasmus University, a major she decided to go into after her brother died by suicide three years ago, her mom told KARE 11.

"She can't help everybody, but she thought she could," Odegard told the outlet, adding that Papenheim was trying to be a good person for her roommate. "She just thought that she was at least there for him, and I don't know what he thought differently.”

The mother told KTSP in Minneapolis that “things seemed to be escalating” in the last few weeks.

Before that, she said, “My daughter, being so nice, would be, 'When he gets mad, I calm him down and he's fine.’”

Papenheim had plans to return to Minnesota to celebrate Christmas.

"The thing that is going through my head is that she was coming home for Christmas, as we were all so excited to see her and to hear that she was coming back that way, and that was just tragic," her friend George Moye told  WCCO in Minneapolis.

In addition to being passionate about psychology, Papenheim was a blues musician who excelled on the drums and was known in Minnesota for playing live music.

“Music was her life, she breathed it,” Odegard told KTSP.

The roommate was reportedly a cellist who connected with Papenheim over music.

[Photo: Facebook]

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