Rotterdam man, Joel Schelling identified as the suspect who stabbed Minnesota musician, Sarah Papenheim to death. Was struggling with mental issues.
Dutch authorities have revealed the identity of the 23 year old Rotterdam roommate who stabbed to death a Minnesota musician studying at local Erasmus University.
Upon having stabbed Papenheim multiple times, Schelling fled the scene only to be caught an hour upon alighting a train with a large string-instrument case in Eindhoven, about 65 miles southeast of Rotterdam.
Not immediately clear was what led to Schelling choosing Eindhoven as his destination.
The suspect’s arrest was caught by a fellow train passenger, Erik van der Heijden– who photographed the moment police surrounded Schelling at the station and ordered the platform to be cleared so that they could examine Schelling’s double bass case.
Schelling, dressed in jeans and a black nylon coat, was ordered on his knees and held his behind his back as police handcuffed him and conducted their search before taking him into custody.
‘I was in the same train as him, I checked in at den Bosch and went out in Eindhoven. Then I saw a lot of police at the platform, also undercover. They went to this guy when he left the train. He stayed extremely calm, like he had just finished a yoga session,’ said the musician passenger who took the photos.
‘Maybe he was just in a psychotic state of mind. He did not speak and almost didn’t blink his eyes.’
Heijden went on to describe Schelling as ‘apathetic.’
Authorities believe that Papenheim was still alive when Schelling fled the scene, leaving her to bleed to death.
Haunted by her brother’s suicide death, Sarah Papenheim was committed to helping the man who ultimately would stab her to death:
Papenheim was found covered in blood and announced dead on the scene by emergency workers, who responded to her residence after hearing loud noises and arguing coming from the young woman’s room.
The suspect and victim were both residents of De Snor, a building that largely housed students studying at Erasmus University.
Papenheim, who had been studying in Rotterdam since 2016, occupied a studio apartment on the third floor of the building.
She had traveled to Europe to pursue her studies in psychology, and later took up a minor in suicide when her brother took his own life just days after their mother remarried.
‘They’d talk music all night. They kinda clicked on that. Then as time went on, he’d get highs and lows,’ Pappenheim’s mother, Donee Odegard said in an interview with the Star Tribune.
A few days before the killing, Odegard continued, ‘two people from mental health came over, but she shooed them away because she was afraid he would think she called them.’
She said she told her daughter, ”Get out of there,’ but she wouldn’t listen to me.’ – saying she was her roommate’s only friend.
On the morning of the stabbing, Odegard said, Papenheim went to the apartment to retrieve some clothes for school and to take them back to her boyfriend’s place, saying, ‘and that’s when we think it happened.’
Preparations are now being made to return Sarah Papenheim’s body to Minnesota.
A GoFundMe page has been created to help her family with those costs.