RIVER FALLS, Wis. (WCCO) — The charges released Thursday explain how police think the River Falls triple homicide happened, but they don’t answer the question on so many minds — why?

Police say Aaron Schaffhausen had reportedly made a threat to harm at least one of the girls a few months ago, but there’s nothing else that would point to something like this.

Twin Cities Forensic Psychologist Dr. Michael Thompson said mental illness often isn’t the answer in cases like this.

The court documents were enough to make a man who reads them every day, someone like Thompson, shudder.

“I think without a doubt, that this was something that was planned,” Thompson said.

Research points to spouse revenge as one possible motivation for a parent to kill. Thompson says that may have happened here.

“He will know that she will be reminded every day of what he did,” Thompson said. “And I think that that was his intention.”

Thompson says for some men, being robbed of the position of head of the household, will drive them to extremes, and emotions don’t get in the way.

“There’s no hope in the future for the family to come back together in the way that he is used to it,” Thompson said. “(For him), it’s intolerable.”

One of the themes mentioned throughout the days of media coverage surrounding this story is how difficult this can be to explain to a child.

Thompson says while kids want to have an answer, it’s okay if the response is, “We don’t know why people do bad things.”


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