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Mother of U.S. student stabbed to death in the Netherlands: 'I've cried so much my ducts are dry'

Alex Lasker
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Mother of U.S. student stabbed to death in the Netherlands: 'I've cried so much my ducts are dry'

The mother of an American student who was brutally murdered while studying

The mother of an American student who was brutally murdered while studying abroad in the Dutch city of Rotterdam says she is in utter shock over the tragic loss of her daughter.

Donee Odegard, mother of 21-year-old Sarah Papenheim, is living every parent's worst nightmare — for the second time.

Her daughter, a talented drummer and psychology student at Erasmus University, was stabbed to death in her apartment after an alleged quarrel with her roommate, a 23-year-old Dutchman and cello player, on Wednesday afternoon.

Police discovered Papenheim's body in a pool of blood after a neighbor called to report a loud altercation and screaming coming from her unit. Her roommate, whose identity has not been released, was arrested about an hour later at a train station in Eindhoven, about 60 miles outside of Rotterdam, local outlet AD Rotterdams Dagblad reports.

For Odegard, the loss feels all too familiar. Just three years ago, her son Josh, then 21, died of suicide, a tragedy which she says spurred her daughter to focus her studies on mental health.

"I've been through this before," Odegard told KMSP. "I've cried so much, my ducts are dry. I am in the angry stage now."

"My only two kids, and I've lost them both."

Papenheim had expressed concerns about her roommate shortly before her death, according to the Star Tribune.

The two began sharing a two-bedroom apartment in 2017, one year after Papenheim moved to Rotterdam for school and to be with her boyfriend, Nico, who she met online. 

Papenheim was originally excited to share an apartment with another musician and became friendly with the man, but recently confided to her mom that he was becoming increasingly "angry" and had exhibited mood swings. 

When Odegard suggested Papenhaim move out, she told her mother she couldn't because she was "his only friend."

"He'd have highs and lows and she noticed that and I told her she needed to get out of there because something ain’t right," the bereaved mother told KMSP.

Papenheim was set to return home for Christmas sometime next week. Instead, her family has started a GoFundMe account so they can afford to bring her body home.

At the time of publication, the page had raised over $31,000 of its $40,000 goal.