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Sunday
Dec162018

'Yellow vest' protests in France draw fewer demonstrators, less violence in latest round of weekend demonstrations

ABC News(PARIS) -- Protesters from the "yellow vest" movement hit the streets in France for the fifth straight Saturday, but the number of demonstrators was significantly smaller than in previous weekends.

There were 33,500 protesters in France -- and 2,200 in Paris -- as of Saturday afternoon, a spokesperson for the Interior minister told ABC News. At the same time last Saturday, they were 77,000 total across the whole country and 10,000 in its capital.

Police fired small amounts of tear gas to disperse groups of protesters near the famous Champs Elysees Avenue but the demonstrations are mostly peaceful.

That pales in comparison to past weekends, when hundreds of angry protesters, many of them wearing gas masks or ski goggles, threw rocks and projectiles toward French police in Paris.

In turn, police dispersed crowds by firing tear gas and blasting water cannons.

Footage from last weekend's demonstrations showed protesters using plywood and other material to make barricades on various streets throughout central Paris.

Demonstrators also set multiple cars on fire, broke store windows before looting them.

The demonstration in France this Saturday comes after French president Emmanuel Macron addressed the nation in a recorded TV speech earlier this week and announced new economic measures in response to weeks of violent protests across the country.

The 40-year-old head of state confessed on Monday that the anger of protesters was "deep, and some of their claims legitimate."

Speaking again during a press conference in Brussels during a European Union summit on Friday, the French president said “our country needs calm."

"It needs order. It needs to function normally again,” he said.

These protests are part of the “yellow vest” movement, named after the neon yellow security vests demonstrators have been wearing -- vests all motorists are lawfully required to have in their vehicles.

These demonstrations started in small urban centers and rural areas of the country in response to a proposed fuel price hike, and demonstrators have been blocking roads over the past five weeks.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced last week that he was backing down from the proposed fuel price hike. However, the protests have continued and turned into a broader rebuke against the economic policies of Macron and the French ruling class, which many citizens view as elitist and indifferent to their struggles.

The movement has no clear leader and has attracted groups of people with a wide variety of demands.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sunday
Dec162018

South Sudan marks 5 years of vicious civil war

SUMY SADURNI/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The world's youngest nation on Saturday marked five years of vicious war in an ongoing conflict that is affecting millions of people, many of them children.

South Sudan is home to the largest refugee crisis in Africa and the third largest in the world, after Syria and Afghanistan, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Sixty-five percent of South Sudanese refugees are under the age of 18.

Not long after gaining independence and emerging from civil war, South Sudan slid back into conflict in December 2013 when President Salva Kiir sacked his then-deputy Riek Machar and accused him of plotting a coup. The personal rivalry sparked fighting between forces loyal to the president and rebels allied with Machar.

It also deepened a rift between two of South Sudan’s largest ethnic groups -- Kiir’s dominant Dinka and Machar’s Nuer people.

Facing sanctions and mounting pressure from the international community, the sparring sides signed a power-sharing agreement in August 2015 with the promise to bring peace to South Sudan. But the peace deal fell apart within months as fighting flared up between Kiir's government forces, Machar's rebel group and other insurgent factions.

After three years of ruinous war and more broken ceasefires, Machar and other rebel factions signed a new ceasefire and power-sharing agreement with Kiir's government that would maintain Kiir as president and reinstate Machar to his former role as the "first" of multiple vice presidents. The reconstituted transitional government won't take office until May 2019.

Despite the revitalized peace process, lasting peace and stability has yet to be seen. The United Nations flagged reports of fighting in several areas of South Sudan less than a week after the new agreement was signed.

About half of South Sudan's 12 million population is facing severe hunger and food security, according to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on Thursday launched an appeal for $1.5 billion to provide life-saving assistance to 5.7 million people who are affected by the South Sudanese civil war and are the most in need.

"As we prepare to enter 2019, South Sudan remains in the grip of a serious humanitarian crisis. The cumulative effects of years of conflict and violence against civilians has destroyed people’s homes and livelihoods," Alain Noudehou, the humanitarian coordinator for South Sudan, said in a statement.

The yearslong war has likely led to nearly 400,000 "excess deaths," with half of the lives lost believed to be through "violent injuries," according to a report by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, which was funded by the U.S. Department of State.

More than 4 million people, the majority of whom are children, have been uprooted by the bloodletting, according to United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF). Fifteen thousand children remain separated from their families or missing, and they are more susceptible to violence, abuse and exploitation.

UNICEF and its partners have reunited close to 6,000 children from South Sudan with their parents and caregivers since the war began. The hope is that the recently signed peace agreement will provide an opportunity to step up humanitarian assistance.

"Every reunification is the result of months and often years of work to trace missing family members in a country the size of France, but without any basic infrastructure," Leila Pakkala, UNICEF’s regional director in eastern and southern Africa, said in a statement Thursday. "The suffering children have endured during the fighting has been unimaginable, but the joy of seeing a family made whole again is always a source of hope.

"There have been encouraging developments on the ground since the peace agreement was signed," Pakkala added. "Our hope is that previously inaccessible areas will begin opening up, allowing us to deliver life-saving assistance to more people in the year ahead."

Meanwhile, a human rights commission is investigating "widespread and systemic sexual violence" across the country and will report its findings to the United Nations Human Rights Council in March. More than 150 women and girls sought medical treatment after being raped or sexually assaulted in a 10-day period as they walked from their villages to the town of Bentiu in the Unity region, according to the United Nations Mission in South Sudan.

"Rape and other forms of sexual violence have been a consistent feature of the conflict in South Sudan, used both as a tactic of war and a driver of forced displacement,” Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the United Nations secretary-general, said in a statement on Dec. 3.

U.S. President Donald Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, on Thursday threatened to pull American aid to South Sudan, among other African nations.

"The United States is now reviewing its assistance to South Sudan to ensure that our aid does not prolong the conflict or facilitate predatory behavior," Bolton said in prepared remarks at the Heritage Foundation in the Washington, D.C. "We will not provide loans or more American resources to a South Sudanese government led by the same morally bankrupt leaders who perpetuate the horrific violence and immense human suffering in South Sudan."

The following day, the U.S. Department of Treasury imposed sanctions on three individuals for their alleged roles in the South Sudanese civil war. Six entities owned or controlled by two of the individuals were also designated.

"Treasury is targeting individuals who have provided soldiers, armored vehicles, and weapons used to fuel the conflict in South Sudan," Sigal Mandelker, undersecretary of the treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a statement Friday. "We are intent on holding accountable those who profit off the misery and suffering of the South Sudanese people and facilitate violence against civilians."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Dec152018

Family of 7-year-old girl who died while in border patrol custody calls for 'thorough' investigation

John Moore/Getty Images(EL PASO, Texas) -- The family of the 7-year-old girl who died while in border patrol custody is calling for a "transparent and neutral investigation" into the circumstances that led to her death, attorneys representing her heartbroken family said in a statement Saturday.

The tragic death of Jakelin Caal Maquin, who was just five days past her birthday when she died after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border earlier this month, should be investigated within "nationally recognized standards for the arrest and custody of children," said Ruben Garcia, the director of Annunciation House, a non-profit organization that is working with her family.

"The family intends to assist in such an investigation into the cause and circumstances of Jakelin's death," Garcia read from a statement prepared by the family's attorneys, during a Saturday afternoon press conference in El Paso, Texas.

Garcia spoke on behalf of Jakelin's parents: her father, Nery Gilberto Caal Cruz, with whom she crossed the border; and her mom, Claudia Marivel Maquin Coc.

Jakelin "was a beautiful and loving child," Garcia said during the news conference.

"Jakelin and her father came to the United States seeking something that thousands have been seeking for years: An escape from the dangerous situation in their home country," Garcia read, referring to Guatemala. "This was their right under U.S. and international law."

Late Saturday evening, Guatemalan Consul Tekandi Paniagua told ABC News that Cruz -- Jakelin’s father -- was grateful to the border patrol and the doctors who tried to save his daughter's life.

"When I spoke to the father he actually said he was very grateful for the effort of both the Border Patrol agents that assisted his daugther at the station as well as the medical staff at the hospital," Paniagua said.

Jakelin's death became public Thursday, five days after she died from dehydration and cardiac arrest, and sparked out sparked outrage from Democrats and immigration advocates alike.

"There are no words to capture the horror of a seven-year-old girl dying of dehydration in U.S. custody," former presidential candidate and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tweeted Friday. "What’s happening at our borders is a humanitarian crisis."

Department of Homeland Security and Border Patrol officials on Friday defended their handling of the incident. Among the challenges cited, DHS and CBP said it took 90 minutes to get Jakelin medical attention after Caal Cruz alerted agents that she was sick.

Four border patrol agents apprehended a group of 160 migrants -- among them Jakelin and her father -- and there was no medical staff nearby.

Finally, a CBP official with direct knowledge of the investigation told ABC News that a single bus equipped to transport children from a remote part of the New Mexico border had to make two trips to take everyone. Jakelin had to wait four hours for the bus to return for her and her father, the official said.

Jakelin later had a 105.9-degree fever and had to be airlifted to a children's hospital in El Paso. That's when she went into cardiac arrest, suffered brain swelling and liver failure, according to CBP and DHS officials.

She died less than 24 hours later, DHS said.

But Jakelin's family said through Garcia the little girl had been taken care of by her father, who made sure she had eaten and was hydrated.

"She had suffered from a lack of water or food prior to approaching the border," Garcia said Saturday.

Garcia added that Jakelin and her family who speak Q'eqchi, and Spanish as a second language. They don't speak English, Garcia added, yet Caal Cruz filled out an English form during processing.

"It is unacceptable for any government agency to have persons in custody sign documents in a language that they clearly do not understand," Garcia said.

They urged patience while the medical examiner in El Paso County, which conducted Jakelin's autopsy, makes a public statement regarding the cause of death.

Her body has left El Paso and is being transported to a funeral home in Laredo that works with Guatemalan consulate. From there, her body will be repatriated to Guatemala, Garcia said.

"The family of Jakelin ... is still coping with their profound loss," Garcia said. "The death of a child is the most painful experience that a parent or family can endure."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Dec152018

'Yellow vest' protests in France draw fewer demonstrators, less violence

Pierre Suu/Getty Images(PARIS) -- Protesters from the "yellow vest" movement hit the streets in France for the fifth straight Saturday, but the number of demonstrators was significantly smaller than in previous weekends.

There were 33,500 protesters in France -- and 2,200 in Paris -- as of Saturday afternoon, a spokesperson for the Interior minister told ABC News. At the same time last Saturday, they were 77,000 total across the whole country and 10,000 in its capital.

Police fired small amounts of tear gas to disperse groups of protesters near the famous Champs Elysees Avenue but the demonstrations are mostly peaceful.

That pales in comparison to past weekends, when hundreds of angry protesters, many of them wearing gas masks or ski goggles, threw rocks and projectiles toward French police in Paris.

In turn, police dispersed crowds by firing tear gas and blasting water cannons.

Footage from last weekend's demonstrations showed protesters using plywood and other material to make barricades on various streets throughout central Paris.

Demonstrators also set multiple cars on fire, broke store windows before looting them.

The demonstration in France this Saturday comes after French president Emmanuel Macron addressed the nation in a recorded TV speech earlier this week and announced new economic measures in response to weeks of violent protests across the country.

The 40-year-old head of state confessed on Monday that the anger of protesters was "deep, and some of their claims legitimate."

Speaking again during a press conference in Brussels during a European Union summit on Friday, the French president said “our country needs calm."

"It needs order. It needs to function normally again,” he said.

These protests are part of the “yellow vest” movement, named after the neon yellow security vests demonstrators have been wearing -- vests all motorists are lawfully required to have in their vehicles.

These demonstrations started in small urban centers and rural areas of the country in response to a proposed fuel price hike, and demonstrators have been blocking roads over the past five weeks.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced last week that he was backing down from the proposed fuel price hike. However, the protests have continued and turned into a broader rebuke against the economic policies of Macron and the French ruling class, which many citizens view as elitist and indifferent to their struggles.

The movement has no clear leader and has attracted groups of people with a wide variety of demands.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Dec152018

Friend of American student murdered in Netherlands says roommate spoke of killing people

Facebook/Sarah Papenheim(ROTTERDAM, Netherlands) -- The friend of an American student killed in the Netherlands said she had texted him about her roommate's desire to kill people less than a week before she was murdered.

Sarah Papenheim, 21, was stabbed to death on Wednesday in her apartment in Rotterdam. Authorities arrested a 23-year-old man, identified to ABC News by a source close to the investigation as Joel Schelling, at a train station just hours later.

He was Papenheim's roommate as she studied at Erasmus University.

Adam Pryor met Papenheim in Minneapolis' music scene and the two quickly became friends. Papenheim was a talented jazz and blues drummer, while he played the organ. The two would regularly join in jam sessions at local clubs in the city. They continued to be close friends after she decided to move to the Netherlands in 2016 to live with her boyfriend and study music.

Pryor shared with ABC News a series of text messages Papenheim sent him on Dec. 6 in which she claimed, "My roommate told me he's gonna kill 3 people. So I'm gonna have to go to the police."

It's unclear if Papenheim ever went to the police, but she was found dead in her apartment six days later.

"I could tell she wasn't doing right because she was just being weird over text and then I asked her what's wrong and she said she never talks to anyone anymore," Pryor told Good Morning America. Pryor said Papenheim said, "'I work full time and I have school full time and everything is just so f----d up right now. My roommate told me is going to kill three people so I'm gonna have to go to the police.'"

Pryor said she never made any indication that she was in danger, or that her roommate was threatening her.

"After she told me that I thought he got mad at some people. I didn't feel like she was in any danger," he said. "I never could've guessed it was her. Just the way she made it seem like, it was some other people he was mad at or something happened. I had trust in her. She was very responsible, that she would go to the police and take care of everything. I didn't ever think something like this was going to happen."

Papenheim told her mother that she spoke to Schelling about music -- he was a talented cello player -- but he had a tendency to get mad and she was the only one who could calm him down.

Her mother, Donee Odegard, said she told her daughter to "not be around him," but as relayed by her mother, Papenheim said, "Mom, he is my friend. I am his only friend. He would get angry, but I can always talk him down and change his mind."

Pryor said he is in shock about his friend's murder, calling her "the best friend anyone could ask for."

"I'm just feeling empty -- the loss of my best friend, shared connections through music, through life," Pryor said. "I've just never been that close with anyone that loved blues as much as I did and also got along with everything personality-wise.

"It's so unbelievable what happened, it's just so terrible," he said.

Pryor last spoke to Papenheim on Monday and talked about concerts she was planning to go see in Europe, saying she "was just so excited." Like her mother, and others, Pryor raved about Papenheim's music talents.

"I saw her playing drums and I just came to jam with her and play organ and I just never heard someone that young, my age, be able to play that hard and play that well and just lay down a groove," Pryor said of how he developed a friendship with her. "It was just incredible. We talked just all the time over there, through text and whatnot, in and out of school for both of us. It's just -- she's one of a kind."

Schelling made his first court appearance on Friday, when the judge ordered him held for another 14 days as the investigation continues.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Dec142018

Macron calls for calm as France prepares for fifth weekend of protests

Photo by Gustavo Muñoz/Getty Images(BRUSSELS) -- French President Emmanuel Macron urged for calm on Friday, as his country prepares for another day of expected protests this weekend.

While Macron announced an increase to the minimum wage next year and cancelled a tax hike for the poorest pensioners, many remain unsatisfied. That in response to the so-called Yellow Jackets movement -- named after the neon yellow security vests demonstrators have been wearing.

"Out country needs calm," Macron said from Brussels, where he was attending a European Union summit. "It needs order. It needs to function normally again."

French authorities, meanwhile, are prepared to deploy various measures, including armored vehicles and thousands of security forces. It would be the fifth straight weekend of protests, which have become violent, in Paris.

Many demonstrators over the last four weekends were seen wearing gas masks or ski goggles, and some threw rocks or other projectiles at police. There were also reports of cars set on fire, barricades built and store windows broken.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Dec142018

Former Green Beret charged with murder of suspected Taliban bombmaker

gorodenkoff/iStock(NEW YORK) -- A former U.S. Army Green Beret has been charged with the 2010 murder of a man he suspected of being a Taliban bombmaker.

The charges follow multiple investigations of Major Matthew Golsteyn's role in the man's death that he once admitted to Fox News during a 2016 interview.

"Major Matthew Golsteyn's immediate commander has determined that sufficient evidence exists to warrant the preferral of charges against him," said Lt. Col. Loren Bymer, a spokesman for U.S. Army Special Operations Command.

"Major Golsteyn has been charged with the murder of an Afghan male during his 2010 deployment to Afghanistan," he continued.

On Thursday, Golsteyn’s attorney Philip Stackhouse tweeted that he had been charged with "premeditated murder, a death penalty offense for allegedly killing a Taliban bomb-maker during combat operations in Marjah, Afghanistan."

The announcement of the murder charge against Golsteyn are the result of multiple Army investigations of his deployment to Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan as part of a Special Forces unit.

It was during that deployment that Golsteyn is alleged to have killed a man suspected of having been a Taliban bomb maker responsible for the deaths of two Marines.

Army Criminal Investigation Command's initial investigation of Golsteyn began after he admitted in a 2011 CIA job interview that he had killed the man he suspected as being the bomb maker.

That investigation did not determine conclusively that Golsteyn had killed the man, but it resulted in his losing a Silver Star for heroism he had earned during the deployment.

A later review resulted in his leaving the Army in 2015 with a general discharge.

A new Army investigation was trggered following Golsteyn's October, 2016 appearance on Fox News where acknowledged that he had killed the man during his deployment.

Golsteyn was recalled to active duty by the Army to await the results of the new investigation.

Stackhouse, Golsteyn's attorney, said he would be "relentless in defending him."

"MAJ Golsteyn is a humble servant-leader who saved countless lives, both American and Afghan, and has been recognized repeatedly for his valorous actions," Stackhouse tweeted. "We will be relentless in defending him.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Dec142018

Pompeo calls Canadians' detention in China 'unlawful' amid tensions over Huawei CFO's arrest

Credit: US Department of State(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the detention of two Canadians in China "unlawful" and said "they ought to be returned."

Speaking alongside Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, as well as U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis and Canadian Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan, Pompeo said the U.S. is working to help get them returned, but did not provide details.

"We ask all nations of the world to treat other citizens properly and the detention of these two Canadian citizens in China ought to end," he added.

China's detention of the two Canadians -- a diplomat and a businessman -- comes after Canada arrested Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of Chinese telecom giant Huawei, on an arrest warrant in the U.S. A Canadian judge is deciding whether to extradite her to the U.S.

But Pompeo denied that Meng's arrest was related to the U.S.-Chinese trade tensions, saying the U.S. was engaged in a legal process and seeking a "just outcome."



Citing the various issues in U.S.-Chinese relations, Pompeo added, "We work on each of those to get good outcomes for the people of the United States of America and respecting the rule of law each step along the way. We'll do that here as well."

This is a developing story. Please check back in for updates.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Dec142018

Royal families share their Christmas card photos

OWEN HUMPHREYS/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis and a never-before-seen photo of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at their wedding reception are all featured on the royals’ Christmas cards this year.

Kensington Palace on Friday released the photos featured on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s Christmas cards.

Prince William and Kate Middleton’s photo is a casual shot of them with their three children posing on a tree on the grounds of Anmer Hall, their country home in Norfolk.

William and Kate are both in jeans, while George, the third in line to the throne, is wearing rain boots. Charlotte is smiling in between her parents and a growing Louis, who was born in April, is in the arms of his mom.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Christmas card photo is a shot of the newlyweds watching fireworks at their wedding reception in May at Frogmore House, on the grounds of Windsor Castle.

Previously, the only public photos of Meghan and Harry's wedding reception, hosted by Prince Charles, were shots of the couple glamorously driving off to the reception in a Jaguar.

This Christmas will mark Meghan's second with the royal family but her first as a full-fledged member of it.

Harry and Meghan, who are expecting their first child, are expected to spend Christmas in Norfolk with the royal family, including William and Kate and their three children.

The royal family gathers on Christmas Eve to exchange gifts, following the German tradition. Meghan will not have to worry about buying expensive gifts for her new relatives, as members of the royal family will often swap funny gifts.

On Christmas Day, they join the congregation for the morning service at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham. After the service, the royal family greets well-wishers outside the church before heading back to Sandringham for Christmas lunch.

After lunch, the entire family sits down to watch the queen's annual televised Christmas message.

In the evening, the royal family gathers again for a Christmas buffet dinner with 15 to 20 different delicacies prepared by Queen Elizabeth’s chef. A toast is part of the meal, which ranges from roast beef to turkey and ham.

The day after Christmas, known as Boxing Day in the U.K., finds the royals partaking in the traditional Boxing Day pheasant shoot on the grounds of Sandringham.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Dec142018

Mother of US student stabbed to death in Netherlands 'totally in shock'

Facebook/Sarah Papenheim(ROTTERDAM, Netherlands) -- Donee Odegard knew what happened the minute two sheriffs showed up at her door. She'd been through it before.

The authorities asked her a few questions about her daughter, Sarah Papenheim, before delivering the news: Her daughter had been stabbed to death while studying abroad in the Netherlands.

"He was sad to inform me that my beautiful daughter had passed. I kind of knew it was coming when you have done this before," said Odegard, whose son had committed suicide at 21 three years ago, in an interview with ABC News' Good Morning America.

"When he started answering me questions, there is no way sheriffs come to your door unless you committed a crime," she continued. "You kind of know what they are going to say."

Papenheim, a Minnesotan native, died Wednesday afternoon after she was attacked at her apartment in Rotterdam, according to Rotterdam police and Minneapolis ABC affiliate KSTP-TV.

The suspect, a 23-year-old Dutch man, lived in the same building as Papenheim, and the two were believed to be acquaintances, Rotterdam police said.

The suspect was arrested about an hour after officers found her body, police said. He was located at a train station about 60 miles from Rotterdam.

Odegard said the man, whose name has not been released, was a cello player and her daughter was a talented jazz drummer. Both were studying music.

"They loved talking about music," Odegard said. "There was times he would have highs and lows."

"Nothing concerned me until the last time I talked to her when she told me this story," Odegard added. "She said, 'Mommy he did this. He is acting strange.'" Odegard said she told her daughter to "not be around him," but as relayed by her mother, Papenheim said, "Mom, he is my friend. I am his only friend. He would get angry, but I can always talk him down and change his mind."

No motive has been established, police said.

Papenheim attended Erasmus University in the Netherlands, Rotterdam police said.

"The university is shocked by this terrible incident and is taking care of upset students and employees and will act towards relatives according to our protocols," a university spokeswoman said in a statement. "We encourage our students and staff not to let each other alone in this difficult time and to get in touch with student-advisors and psychologists if they want to."

She was living in the Netherlands after meeting someone playing a game online who lived in the country, her mother said. She traveled to the country to meet him, and after they began dating she decided to move to the country for school. Her mother praised her boyfriend, Nico, for the support he's provided, both emotionally and as a native Dutch speaker.

"He has been a rock for her," Odegard said. "He was there when my son committed suicide; he has been there for her so much. I don’t know what would have happened for both of us if he wasn’t there. He helped us so much."

Papenheim was a talented drummer and a fixture in the music scene in Minnesota. Her mother said she was returning home for Christmas and had already booked a performance. Now, her friends will be performing to raise money for her burial.

A U.S. State Department spokesperson confirmed Papenheim's death and said the department extends its "deepest condolences to her family and friends."

"We are providing all appropriate consular services," the spokesperson said.

Odegard said she is getting finances in order to bring her daughter back from the Netherlands, she said.

"I know that everyone says that their daughter or son is the sunshine in everybody’s life, but my daughter lights up the world," she said.

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