Wis. Father Appears in Court, Charged in Deaths of 3 Girls
A criminal complaint reveals chilling new details in the deaths of three River Falls girls.
The girls' father, 34-year-old Aaron Schaffhausen, was charged with three counts of first degree intentional murder in their deaths.
Schaffhausen appeared in a Hudson courtroom via video conferencing at 1 p.m. Thursday. His bond was set at $2 million.
Officers found Schaffhausen's three daughters dead Tuesday in the home he once shared with them and their mother.
The girls were identified as 11-year-old Amara, 8-year-old Sophie and 5-year-old Cecilia Schaffhausen.
According to the criminal complaint, a babysitter was watching the girls on the day of their deaths. The babysitter received a call from the girls mother saying that the girls' dad was coming over to spend the day with them, and that she could leave when he came over.
The babysitter said the girls were excited to see their dad. She left them in his care around 1:40 p.m.
The girls' mother had asked her ex-husband to leave by 3:30 p.m. because she was coming home, and didn't want to see him.
The girls' mother later received a phone call around 3:30 p.m. from Schaffhausen who said, "You can come home now because I killed the kids." The girls' mother said she immediately called the police.
Officers entered the home and found the girls, who appeared to be dead, in separate bedrooms. All three of the girls appeared to have dried blood on their faces. A large amount of blood was found on the carpet in one of the bedrooms.
There was a strong smell of gas in the home. An investigator found a gasoline container tipped over in the basement, with gasoline poured out of it.
Schaffhausen drove to the River Falls Police Department after the girls' deaths, and was taken into custody.
According to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office, Amara's cause of death was a sharp force injury to the right side of the neck. Sophie's cause of death was also a sharp force injury to the right side of the neck. Cecelia's cause of death was sharp force injury to the neck and strangulation.
Judge Howard W. Cameron, Jr. scheduled Schaffhausen's preliminary hearing for July 24 at 10 a.m.
In court, the state asked if the girls' bodies could be released to the family for a funeral. Defense attorney John Kucinski said he could not agree to that due to evidentiary issues.
Warning: Criminal complaint may be graphic and disturbing. Click here to read the criminal complaint.
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