American student killed in Netherlands texted friend about how her roommate wanted to kill people
A young American blues drummer murdered in her Netherlands apartment reached out to a friend in the days leading up to her death with a series of text messages, saying her roommate had expressed a desire to kill people.
Sarah Papenheim, 21, was fatally stabbed Wednesday in her home near Erasmus University in the port city of Rotterdam, where she had been studying psychology since 2016. Less than a week earlier, the Minnesota native texted her friend, Adam Pryor, with concerns about the man she’d been living with.
“I work full time and I have school full time and everything is just so f----d up right now,” she wrote in a message sent on Dec. 6. “My roommate told me he is going to kill three people so I'm gonna to have to go to the police.'"
Pryor, who connected with Papenheim through the Minneapolis music scene, told Good Morning America he knew something was off with his friend, but did not believe her to be in any immediate danger.
“After she told me that I thought he got mad at some people. I didn’t feel like she was in any danger. I never could’ve guess it was her,” he said.
“Just the way she made it seem like, it was some other people he was mad at or something happened. I had trust in her. She was very responsible, that she would go to the police and take care of everything. I didn’t think something like this was going to happen.”
Authorities earlier this week arrested a man in connection with the case at a rail station following an attempt to flee, but have not yet released his name.
Papenheim’s mother, Donee Odegard, in an interview with the Star Tribune identified the suspect as her daughter’s 23-year-old roommate, Joel Shelling, who had reportedly been getting “more and more angry” in recent weeks.
Odegard said she urged her daughter to avoid the man, but that she pushed back saying that she was his only friend.
“They’d talk about music all night,” the grieving mother said. “They kinda clicked on that. Then as time went on, he’d get highs and lows.”
Pryor, a 19-year-old keyboardist, remembered Papenheim as a smart and caring woman as well as a naturally gifted drummer and musician.
“Most people my age don’t know what blues music is, much less can play it and much less can play like she did,” he said. “She was just so special in so many ways.”
Schelling made his initial court appearance Friday, when a judge ordered he remain in custody as the investigation unfolds over the next two weeks. Police are still working to determine a motive in the killing.