A Dutch diplomat stationed in Minneapolis said his country is sparing no effort in making sure that a Twin Cities family has all the help it needs to retrieve the body of a 21-year-old loved one, a blues musician allegedly killed by her roommate in the European city where she was going to college.
The mother of Sarah Papenheim of Andover is in the Netherlands to claim the body and learn as much as she can about her daughter's stabbing death Wednesday in a student residence about a mile from Erasmus University in Rotterdam. Papenheim was studying psychology there.
Back in Minnesota, friends and fellow musicians held a special session Monday night at Shaw's Bar & Grill in northeast Minneapolis that will be renamed the "Sarah Papenheim Cocktail Jam."
The mission of the gathering where Papenheim routinely jammed on Monday nights behind the drum kit is part healing and part support for a family that is facing tens of thousands of dollars in expenses to cover travel, the funeral and other needs.
Her roommate, Joel Schelling, 23, of Rotterdam, has been jailed in her death. Schelling appeared in court Friday and was ordered held for another 14 days ahead of formal charges being filed as police continue collecting evidence and interviewing witnesses.
Papenheim's mother, Donee Odegard, was picked up at the Rotterdam airport Friday by university officials and was expected back in the Twin Cities with her daughter's body on Wednesday, said Minneapolis-based Dutch Consul Marc Al.
Al said he told Odegard that he is her "local Dutch resource and am here if you need me. If they need a Dutch speaker or help to make contact with a [Dutch] government agency ... that sometimes helps a little bit."
"We want to make them realize they are not alone," he said.
While in Rotterdam, Odegard will have the assistance of a crime victim coordinator from the police department, Al said.
Al, an attorney who works for a Minneapolis law firm and has carried out his diplomatic duties on a volunteer basis for more than 15 years, said the criminal proceedings for Schelling will be similar to what would happen in the United States, but there also are some substantive differences.
In the U.S., a suspect who is jailed for a crime must generally be charged within a couple of days or be released as the investigation continues. In the Netherlands, Al said, prosecutors routinely have up to 14 days and can be given more time while their suspect remains locked up.
After 14 days, Schelling will go back before a judge and either be let go as investigators continue their work or be returned to jail. Unlike our bail system to ensure a suspect doesn't flee upon release, Al said his country relies "less on a monetary system and more a matter of your own recognizance and being a flight risk."
In Rotterdam, where Papenheim died, there are about 12 homicides a year in the city of roughly 620,000 people.
"Comparing it to the United States, it's such a difference," Al said. "And that's what makes [Papenheim's death] such a shock. It was front-page news across Holland, as it should be."
Memorial services are scheduled for Dec. 29 from 5 to 6 p.m. at Bradshaw Funeral Home in White Bear Township, with visitation at 2 p.m. An online campaign is raising money for the family.