Three girls dead, father jailed in River Falls homicide

Three girls dead, father jailed in River Falls homicide

By The Associated Press. CREATED Jul 11, 2012 - UPDATED: Jul 11, 2012

RIVER FALLS, Wis. (AP) -- Neighbors are remembering the three young sisters found dead in a River Falls house as "normal, happy girls."

Heather Johnson lives a few doors down from the house where the girls' bodies were found Tuesday. Johnson says her son would ride bikes, skateboard and play at a neighborhood park with the girls, who she says were "cute, sweet little girls."

Authorities on Wednesday identified the victims as 11-year-old Amara, 8-year-old Sophie and 5-year-old Cecilia Schaffhausen. Their father is being held on possible charges of first-degree intentional homicide.

Authorities say a man suspected of killing his three young daughters called their mother out of the blue and asked to see them.

Aaron Schaffhausen, 34, has been arrested in connection with the deaths. Formal charges are pending.

Police said they could smell gas when they went to check on the girls at the direction of their mother. But, they provided no details on how the children died. Their parents are divorced.

Police say the father later called his ex-wife and told her he had harmed the children.