American Woman Studying in Netherlands Fatally Stabbed: Reports

December 13, 2018 Updated: December 13, 2018

An American woman from Minnesota studying in the Netherlands was found fatally stabbed in her room on Dec. 12, according to local reports.

Sarah Papenheim, 21, died after she was stabbed at a housing complex near Erasmus University in Rotterdam, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported. Papenheim, a musician, is originally from Andover, Minnesota.

Screams and arguing were heard from her room before the stabbing, reported the Star-Tribune, citing local news reports. A 23-year-old man from Rotterdam was arrested in the case, and police said he tried to escape capture.

The man took a train and traveled 65 miles to the southeast to Eindhoven before police arrested him, the paper reported.

Police have not detailed a possible motive in the case. The man’s identity was not disclosed in reports.

Papenheim’s mother told the Star-Tribune that the man wasn’t her boyfriend.

According to one friend, Papenheim was afraid of a male resident who lived in the complex, De Telegraaf reported. “She was terribly afraid of him, and he was sometimes very intimidating. She therefore often did not dare to go home,” said the person.

“I can’t fathom that you’re gone. You had such a pure heart and soul,” one friend wrote on Facebook, CBS Minnesota reported. “Rest easy…you’re with your brother now. I love you.”

She was studying psychology to help suicidal people after her brother killed himself, the Star-Tribune reported.

“My only two kids, and I’ve lost them both,” Donee Odegar, the mother, told the outlet. “She always wanted to travel abroad,” Odegard said. “She could light up any room that she was in.”

“She was an amazing individual,” said Amy Kritzer of Palo Cedro, whose daughter was friends with the woman, reported the Record Searchlight. “We called her ‘Happy Pap,”‘ she said. Stephen Kresko, a family member, said she was “such a young, beautiful, intelligent, musically talented woman. We’ll miss you, but beat those drums in heaven, girl.”

The paper reported that she was a drummer for local bands in the Twin Cities area. Her mom said that local musicians are trying to raise money to bring her body back to the United States.

Odegard said it will cost her family between $10,000 and $15,000 to transport her body back to the U.S. “We can’t afford it,” said Odegard.

The U.S. Department of State on Dec. 11, issued a security alert for the Netherlands and the rest of the European Union.

“During the holiday season security measures in Europe, including the Netherlands, remain heightened due to ongoing threats posed by transnational terrorist organizations and individuals inspired by extremist ideology throughout Europe. Extremists continue to focus on tourist locations such as Christmas holiday markets, shopping malls, airports, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, transportation hubs, and other soft targets frequented by Westerners.,” said the agency.

It added that people should “exercise additional vigilance at holiday festivals and events, places of worship, and locations with large crowds.” It adds: “Follow the instructions of local authorities including movement restrictions related to any ongoing police action. Monitor local media for breaking events and adjust your plans based on new information.”

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