Suspect in case of Minnesota student slain in Netherlands appears in court

March 22, 2019 11:40 AM

The roommate accused of fatally stabbing a Minnesota student studying abroad made a court appearance Friday morning.

Authorities said 21-year-old Sarah Papenheim was stabbed Dec. 12 near the Erasmus University campus in Rotterdam.


Papenheim's friends said Papenheim told them she was going to have to go to police because her roommate, identified as 23-year-old Joe Schelling, told her he planned to kill people, just days before she was found dead.

Papenheim's mother, Donee Odegard, says she urged Papenheim to get away from Schelling, but Papenheim said she was his only friend.

Odegard faced Schelling for the first time in court Friday. She said the suspect talked briefly in court and said he told police everything he knows, but also can't remember much of what happened on the night Papenheim was killed.

Schelling will now undergo a pyschological investigation.

"You can't tell me he doesn't know anymore," Odegard said. "I find it hard to believe that he can't remember. Something that brutal."

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Odegard said she had learned more details about her daughter's death right before she saw Schelling, including that Papenheim had 37 stab wounds and cuts when she was found dead in her apartment.

"When he walked out of the courtroom, he did look over at me and that's when it hit me how real this is," Odegard said. "I mean I know it's real, but when he looked over at me, I hope he felt what I felt."

Odegard said before her daughter was killed, Papenheim had moved out of her apartment that she shared with Schelling. When Papenheim went back to get her clothes, Odegard says the two got into a heated argument.

"I want things done right for Sarah," Odegard said. "Justice for Sarah, so if it takes them a little longer, I'll be there for whatever court case they do. I don't care if it's for two minutes, I am going to be here for Sarah."

Odegard said this is the second time she has been in the Netherlands. The first was to identify her daughter's body in December.

Schelling is expected back in court in June.

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Rebecca Omastiak & Ashley Zilka

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


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