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River Falls Mourns The Deaths Of 3 Sisters At Tearful Vigil

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RIVER FALLS, Wis. (WCCO/AP) – You don’t expect it in any community, much less the small, tight-knit one of River Falls, Wis.

That’s what 11-year-old Amara Schaffhausen’s soccer coach, Jeff Parsons, said Wednesday at a vigil for Amara and her two sisters, Sophie, 8, and Cecilia, 5.

The three sisters died Tuesday, but authorities won’t yet say how. The girls’ father, 34-year-old Aaron Schaffhausen, is in custody at the St. Croix County Jail on suspicion of first-degree intentional homicide, authorities said Wednesday.

On Tuesday morning, Aaron Schaffhausen allegedly called his ex-wife, Jessica Schaffhausen, out of the blue, asking to see the girls, who were with a babysitter. Later, Jessica Schaffhausen got another call, one in which Aaron Schaffhausen said he harmed the girls, police said. She then called 911 and rushed home.

Parsons brought his soccer team to the vigil Wednesday evening at Glen Park in River Falls. One of Amara’s teammates said she just started crying when she heard the horrible news.

“It’s just so hard to believe,” another teammate said.

Many of Sophie’s friends also showed up at the vigil.

“I was just so upset that it had to happen,” one of Sophie’s friends said.

The Schaffhausen family has lived in River Falls for several years. But records show the couple divorced in January, and that Aaron Schaffhausen had been living in Minot, N.D. The couple filed for divorce jointly, and were awarded joint legal custody of the girls, although Jessica Schaffhausen had primary physical custody.

River Falls Police records show there had been a domestic incident at the home in August 2009. Police also reported a harassment incident this past March where Aaron Schaffhausen had allegedly threatened to harm at least one of the children.

When Aaron Schaffhausen turned himself into authorities, he did not say much about what had happened, police said. It is still unclear what may have motivated him to take the lives of his children.

For Parsons, the question is: How will Jessica Schaffhausen deal the loss of her daughters.

“Jessica was a wonderful mother,” Parsons said. “I don’t know how she’s going to continue on with her life. I feel so terrible.”


Outpouring Of Support: Man Raises More Than $10K For Wis. Tragedy

Fund For The Schaffhausen Children

If you would like to assist the family with monetary donations, you can make checks out to First National Back of River Falls (located in River Falls and Prescott) to the “Benefit Account for Schaffhausen Children.”

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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