River Falls parents, kids looking for ways to cope after girls' murder

By: Joe Nelson Email
By: Joe Nelson Email

RIVER FALLS, Wisc. (WEAU) - People in River Falls are beginning the healing process after three young girls were found murdered in their home earlier this week.

On Tuesday, police said Jessica Schaffhausen got a call from her ex-husband Aaron Schaffhausen saying he had killed their three daughters. Police searched the home and found five-year-old Cecilia, eight-year-old Sophie and 11-year-old Amara dead from sharp force neck injuries in their beds.

"It's been really hard, having some close friends die," Amara's friend Leah Passofaro said. "It's hard knowing they're gone at such an early age."

Aaron Schaffhausen turned himself in and was charged Thursday with three counts of First Degree Intentional Homicide, while thousands look for ways to cope with the death of the three young girls.

"I've just looked at pictures of them and walked by their house and try to remember them," Kayla Skordahl, who also knew Amara said.

"They were bright and energetic, full of joy and life and brought joy to people here at Greenwood. We will miss them very very much," Greenwood Elementary principal Nate Schurman said.

With no reported motive and so many unanswered questions, Greenwood Elementary had counselors on hand and took in students and parents and offered tips on how to handle the shocking loss, like drawing pictures, being honest with kids and encouraging conversation.

"The adults are finding themselves in the same boat that the children are. And I think the children are appreciative of knowing that it's ok to be in that position of not knowing and not understanding," Schurman said.

"When I ask (my kids if) they know what happend, they say (the girls are) with God now, but they're not here anymore ... I guess that's kind of the best way to leave it," River Falls parent Tim Montgomery said.

"They were really good people. Things happen, they're up in heaven now, they're angels. So they're watching over us, so that's all that matters," Skordahl said.

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