August 1, 2014

Neighbors shocked by River Falls child murders

A River Falls neighborhood remained a crime scene Wednesday afternoon, as police searched for evidence in a triple homicide on Tuesday. The victims were identified as 5 year-old Cecelia Lee Schaffhausen, 8 year-old Sophie Schaffhausen and 11 year-old Amara Schaffhausen. Their 34 year-old father surrendered to police Tuesday afternoon. Aaron Schaffhausen is being held in the St. Croix County Jail at Hudson pending charges. Neighbors were reacting with what Dick Jorgenson called profound sadness. “I can’t imagine what the family is feeling, to lose 3 young girls like that,” Jorgenson said.

The Schaffhausen girls lived with their mother in a house in one of the newer subdivisions of River Falls.It’s a neighborhood with a lot of young children and young fathers like Josh Lassi, who now must explain to his children why they won’t see the Schaffhausen sisters again. “I called in to work today and told them I was going to work from home today, for that reason” he said. “If they had any questions, or if they wanted to go over anything, I didn’t want them to have to hear it from a neighbor.”

The Schaffhausen sisters attended Greenwood Elementary School, which is making counselors available for students. Police said Tuesday that the Schaffhausen parents had been divorced in January and that Aaron Schaffhausen had moved to Minot, North Dakota. In March, police were called after Aaron Schaffhausen threatened to harm at least one of the girls. The mother of the children, Jessica Schaffhausen, is staying with family members. An autopsy on the bodies is being conducted in St. Paul.

Jeff Petersen, WIXK