Minneapolis music community remembers 21-year-old drummer killed in the Netherlands

December 13, 2018 10:20 PM

The Minneapolis music community is mourning the loss of a young drummer who was stabbed to death in Europe.

Police in the Netherlands found Sarah Papenheim in her apartment. Her roommate is in custody.


Papenheim was a musician who played with the best in the Twin Cities.

“Music was her life, she breathed it,” said Donee Odegard, her mother.

Odegard told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that when her daughter moved to Rotterdam, she connected with her new roommate over music. She was told the 23-year-old claimed to be a cellist.

According to Odegard, he also had a temper.

“My daughter being so nice would be, 'When he gets mad, I calm him down and he's fine,'” she said. “But in the recent week here I guess things seemed to be escalating.”

Rotterdam police said there was an argument on Wednesday. When officers responded, they found Papenheim stabbed to death in the apartment.

RELATED: Minnesotan fatally stabbed while studying in the Netherlands

They arrested her roommate at a nearby train station.

“My life has been ripped,” said Odegard.

Papenheim was studying psychology there with a focus on suicide. Her brother killed himself three years ago.

“She was going to have the chance to go somewhere,” said Odegard.

When Papenheim was in town, she could be found several nights a week up on stage behind a drum set. On Mondays, she went to Shaw’s in northeast Minneapolis, with Jellybean Johnson.

“I loved her and I always will,” said Johnson, describing her as a daughter. “I loved her unconditionally.”

Johnson, a drummer for Morris Day and the Time, said she impressed him from the beginning. 

“I always loved her because she had this upbeat attitude,” he said. “She didn't care, she liked playing with the guys and the guys liked playing with her.”

He and the other musicians who took Papenheim under their wing are now trying to help her family pay for the cost to get her home.

“She was just a sweet kindred spirit,” he said. “Just a beautiful person inside and out. It’s just hard to believe what happened.”

Musician Jimi Primetime Smith, who knew Papenheim since she was a child, described her as a "bright light to everyone." He said she was very smart and very talented, with good ears.

Odegard said the music community’s support is holding her up.

On Friday, she leaves for Europe to bring her daughter home, which could cost more than $15,000.

Multiple GoFundMe pages have been created to help her. Click here, here or here to donate.

“I’d like people to contribute to that if they could,” said Johnson.

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Callan Gray

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