AMARA, SOPHIE AND CECILIA WERE MURDERED BY THEIR FATHER, AARON SCHAFFHAUSEN, AS AN ACT OF REVENGE AGIST HIS WIFE FOR THEIR DIVORCE – CCA0078 – UPDATED 01.30.2014

AMARA, SOPHIE AND CECILIA WERE MURDERED BY THEIR FATHER, AARON SCHAFFHAUSEN, AS AN ACT OF REVENGE AGAINST HIS WIFE FOR THEIR DIVORCE

Amara, Sophie and Cecilia Schaffhausen

Amara, Sophie and Cecilia Schaffhausen

~

UPDATE January 30, 2014

Aaron Schaffhausen

Aaron Schaffhausen

Aaron Schaffhausen is once again back in court, this time is regarding paying restitution to Jessica Schaffhausen.  Prosecutors were asking that Aaron pay Jessica $14,661.28 accounting for expenses such as medical costs, counselling services and lost wages.  The Defense attorneys argued that no restitution should be paid to Jessica, stating that she was not a “direct victim”.  The defense has now asked for paperwork showing Jessica’s medical diagnosis, medications and reports documenting her inability to work in the months following the murders of her daughters.

Amara, Sophie and Cecilia Schaffhausen

Amara, Sophie and Cecilia Schaffhausen

Thankfully the courts were smart enough to see through the smoke screen and ordered Aaron to pay Jessica $14,661.00 for the expenses cited above.  The courts then added restitution in the amount $10,704.00 for court costs.  While these rulings are a victory in the fight for justice, they will never heal the wounds Jessica now carries with her.  “I miss the girls still a lot.  That’s a pain I think I’ll always carry .  But I try to do it in a way that would make them proud of me, in much the way I would want them to carry on of they’d lost me.”  Since the girls’ murders, Jessica has remarried and is now 7 months pregnant.

Donations made to contribute to the Tri-Angles playground which will be built to honor Amara, Sophie and Cecilia, have reached $247,00.00 just under half of the amount needed.  Bremer Bank is matching all donations made to build the playground up to $50,000.00.  More fundraisers will be held in the future and we will keep you all updated as the information is released.

~

UPDATE 11.29.2013

I am delighted to report that the funds being raised to build a playground memorializing Amara, Cecilia and Sophie has reached $108,885!  While this is wonderful, our work here isn’t done my friends.  We need another $441,115 to make the Tri Angels Playground a reality, and with donations remaining steady, I know we can achieve this.  A fundraising committee has applied for a $100,000 grant for the playground from Bremer Bank and a $50,000 grant from an unnamed local business.

Tri-Angels Playground to be built in Amara, Cecilia and Sophie's Memory.

Tri-Angels Playground to be built in Amara, Cecilia and Sophie’s Memory.

On a personal note – I think what Jessica is doing for her daughters is incredible, and all of those who are supporting her and making this dream a reality, are even more incredible.  This is a terrible situation.  We lost 3 beautiful little girls that had barely even begun their lives.  That is something that can never be erased nor is it something that will ever have a justice equal to the brutal act and loss of the girls’ lives.

Amara, Sophie and Cecilia Schaffhausen

Amara, Sophie and Cecilia Schaffhausen

HOWEVER – this did happen, and we can’t change that.  We can choose to be angry, to spend our days in hatred, to focus solely on Amara, Cecilia, and Sophie’s deaths.  We could do this, but it would not be honoring these beautiful angels.  So instead, what we have witnessed is a community coming together to mourn the loss of the girls’ and then more importantly, this community has moved on to CELEBRATING the girls’ lives.  The playground is an incredible way to honor the girls, and the support for building this playground is reaching far more than the community at this point.  Amara, Cecilia and Sophie have stolen the hearts of many all around the world, and these people are making donations to build a playground that will forever remind the world of the joy these little girls’ lives were filled with.  It will forever remind people of the good, the beautiful, and amazing lives these girls lived.  I for one admire how everyone has come together, and can think of a better way to memorialize Amara, Cecilia and Sophie.

If you would like to make a donation and support the honoring of Amara, Cecilia and Sophie’s lives, you can do so by visiting:

www.unlimitedplay.org/tri-angels-playground

OR you can mail a check to:

Unlimited Play

Tri-Angels Playground

4140 Old Mill Parkway

St. Peters, MO

63376

~

Aaron, Amara, Cecilia and Sophie Schaffhausen

Aaron, Amara, Cecilia and Sophie Schaffhausen

On July 10, 2012, the world was shocked and horrified as the news broke that there had been a triple murder.  The victims, Amara Schaffhausen age 11, Sophie Schaffhausen age 8, and Cecilia (Cea) Schaffhausen age 5.  Their murderer … their father, Aaron Schaffhausen.

Schaffhausen had texted Jessica earlier in the day asking if he could have an unplanned visit with his daughters.  Jessica agreed, but told him that he had to be gone by mid-afternoon because she did not want to see him.  The two had divorced in January after having a rocky few years, and the girls lived with their mother, Jessica.  The girls’ babysitter told authorities that when Schaffhausen arrived, the girls will really excited to see him and rushed to give him hugs.  The girls brought their father upstairs to shown him some of their things.  The babysitter hugged the girls and left.

Aaron Schaffhausen

Aaron Schaffhausen

At 3:30 that afternoon, the girls’ mother, Schaffhausen’s ex-wife, placed a frantic, panic laced call to police expressing her concern for her children after receiving a troubling and horrifying call from Schaffhausen.  Schaffhausen had called Jessica and stated “You can come home now because I killed the kids.”

When police arrived at the home, they found the bodies of Jessica Schaffhausen’s daughters, all with their throats slit, tucked into their beds, with white T-shirts tied around their necks.  The girls had dried blood all over their faces, and a large amount of blood was found on the bedroom floors and walls.  Autopsies showed that Cecilia had also been strangled before having her throat slit.

Jessica Schaffhausen

Jessica Schaffhausen

Schaffhausen turned himself into police hours after he murdered his daughters, and was charged with three counts of first-degree intentional homicide.  Police attempted to conduct an interview with Schaffhausen, but he would not say a word.  Schaffhausen’s bail was set at $2 million, and he was ordered to have no contact with Jessica or her family.  Schaffhausen pled guilty to his charges, claiming insanity, meaning the defense would have to prove at trial that Schaffhausen had a mental disease or defect so severe that he wasn’t responsible for his actions.

Amara, Sophie and Cecilia Schaffhausen

Amara, Sophie and Cecilia Schaffhausen

As the trial neared, and people talked, the reason Schaffhausen had for murdering his daughters, was to get back at his ex-wife.  He was bitter over their divorce and angry that he believed she had begun to see another man.  He decided that the best way to get back at her and have his revenge, was to murder their children.

As the trial began, the prosecutors went to work showing a jury that Schaffhausen was very much away that what he was doing was wrong, and went a step further to prove it was premeditated.  The murders happened to fall one day after a six-month waiting period for remarriage written into the couple’s divorce decree expired.  Prosecutors say this was not a coincidence.  Schaffhausen waited for the day to come, then asked for the unplanned visit with the girls.  He brought from home, the murder weapon and the T-shirts he tied around the girls necks after he murdered them.  He then attempted to destroy evidence.

Aaron Schaffhausen

Aaron Schaffhausen

As more information came out in the trial, the startling reality of just how much of a monster Schaffhausen is was revealed.  It turns out that after the divorce, Schaffhausen became obsessed with Jessica.  He was prescribed several different antidepressants following the divorce, and was known to mix them with alcohol.  His behaviour began to grow increasingly erratic.  He would at times call Jessica 30 times in one day.

Amara, Sophie and Cecilia Schaffhausen

Amara, Sophie and Cecilia Schaffhausen

On one occasion he threatened to tie her up and force her to choose which of their daughters to kill.  Schaffhausen had stated in a phone call to his cousin, that he was “thinking of slitting the girls’ throats”.  This cousin and Jessica strongly urged Schaffhausen’s family to get him mental health treatment.  Family were not the only one that Schaffhausen made these statements to.

Jessica Schaffhausen

Jessica Schaffhausen

One of his co-workers, Jeremy Michels, wrote in an email to police after the murders that Schaffhausen had been saying things such as, “I want to go kill my kids, then my ex-wife.  After her, I will go to the man’s house she is sleeping with, kill him, cut his head off, put it on a stake in my front yard and then I will sit back and have a beer.”  Excuse me while I get sick.  Schaffhausen’s family had attempted to get him help, but he refused to participate in any program or counselling.

Amara, Sophie and Cecilia Schaffhausen

Amara, Sophie and Cecilia Schaffhausen

While Jessica was testifying in her ex-husband’s trial, she talked about how Schaffhausen stopped taking care of the kids or helping with chores, and was instead play video games for 8 hours or more a day.

Schaffhausen was examined by psychiatrists, and the majority of them all agree that Schaffhausen knew exactly what he was doing.  She says that he began drinking every day, and finally told him that if he didn’t change, she was going to divorce him.

Aaron Schaffhausen

Aaron Schaffhausen

When the trial came to an end, it only took the jury 3 ½ hours to reject the insanity defense, finding that Schaffhausen understand what he was doing when he was murdering his daughters, and very well knew how wrong it was.  St. Croix County Circuit Judge Howard Cameron sentenced Schaffhausen to three consecutive life sentences with no chance of parole, calling the crime vicious and stated he wanted to send the message that “each child is so important”.

Amara Schaffhausen

Amara Schaffhausen

Sophie Schaffhausen

Sophie Schaffhausen

Cecilia Schaffhausen

Cecilia Schaffhausen

He went on to say “Each child has to be recognized as an individual girl.

To make it concurrent would diminish what happened to those young girls.”  Schaffhausen will spend the rest of his pathetic life in prison, where I am sure more justice will be achieved when the inmates learn that this coward murdered his own daughters.

Aaron Schaffhausen

Aaron Schaffhausen

Amara, Cecilia and Sophie Schaffhausen Memorial

Amara, Cecilia and Sophie Schaffhausen Memorial

The news of the girls’ murders rocked the tight-knit community.  The day after the girls were murdered, friends and family came together for a vigil.  Amara’s soccer teammates held each other with Amara’s number painted on their cheeks and shed tears for their fallen friends.  The vigil included 3 minutes of silence, one for each of the girls.  Tenae Klewicki stated “The loss is unimaginable, what Jessica is going through – it’s really touched every member of our community, our classrooms, our kids.  It’s a loss you can’t define.

Amara, Sophie and Cecilia Schaffhausen Memorial

Amara, Sophie and Cecilia Schaffhausen Memorial

Amara, Sophie and Cecilia Schaffhausen Memorial

Amara, Sophie and Cecilia Schaffhausen Memorial

A month after the girls were laid to rest, a benefit was held for Jessica Schaffhausen.  Volunteers and dancers from local dance studios took the stage with an American Idol contestant, Reed Grimm, to raise money.

The benefit was coordinated by the dance studios as teachers and students pulled together to put on a show that Amara, Sophie and Cecilia would love.  The night was filled with positive energy as the community celebrated the girls’ lives.

Jessica Schaffhausen

Jessica Schaffhausen

Amara, Sophie and Cecilia Memorial - Amara's Soccer Teammates

Amara, Sophie and Cecilia Memorial – Amara’s Soccer Teammates

Tri-Angels Playground to be built in Amara, Cecilia and Sophie's Memory.

Tri-Angels Playground to be built in Amara, Cecilia and Sophie’s Memory.

Plans to build a playground in honor of the girls’ memory are under way, and by the specs – it is going to be a magical playground that Amara, Sophie and Cecilia can spend eternity playing in, while watching over their friends.  Each of the girls will be represented by a section of the playground that showcases their individual personalities.  The playground will be larger than 7,000 square feet, and will go above and beyond standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act ensuring that the surface will be accessible to people using wheelchairs and walkers.  Unlimited Play, a St. Louis non-profit group is designing, building and raising money for the project.

Jessica Shaffhausen at Art Show for Amara, Cecilia and Sophie Schaffhausen

Jessica Shaffhausen at Art Show for Amara, Cecilia and Sophie Schaffhausen

An art show was recently held at a River Falls art gallery.  The show featured over 100 pieces of artwork done by the three girls.  It is moving to see a mother who has lost her 3 children in such a horrific way, find the strength to do as much as possible to honor her daughters lives.  Community members were given the chance to purchase the pieces of artwork through a silent auction which is raising money for the Tri-Angels Playground.

Amara, Sophie and Cecilia Schaffhausen's Artwork at Art Show Benefit

Amara, Sophie and Cecilia Schaffhausen’s Artwork at Art Show Benefit

So far about $80,000 of the $555,00 needed for the playground has already been raised.  The goal is to have the playground built by 2015, however could be done much soon if the funding comes in more quickly.

Amara, Sophie and Cecilia Memorial

Amara, Sophie and Cecilia Memorial

During a news conference Jessica addressed the media saying “I can’t express how incredibly thankful and grateful I am to the community, to the people from Unlimited Play, to my family ~ everyone that’s worked so hard to get this project going.”

Donations for the playground can be made at:

https://unlimitedplay.org/tri-angels-playground/

Jessica Schaffhausen

Jessica Schaffhausen

Schaffhausen House

Schaffhausen House

Affinity Plus Credit Union, the financial institution who holds the note on the home where Schaffhausen murdered his 3 daughters, has announced it will be dismantling the house, selling the land, and donating all of the proceeds to the Tri-Angels Playground.  The materials salvaged from the home will be donated to the St.Croix chapter of Habitat for Humanity.  President and CEO Dave Larson says that a number of the companies who are helping to dismantle the home are donating their services, allowing more money to go to the playground.

~

Schaffhausen House Demolished

Schaffhausen House Demolished

Over a year has passed since the Schaffhausen girls were murdered, and the home where it happened has officially been torn down, leaving nothing behind but rubble.  The community sighed a collective sigh of relief, as they see the end of this tragedy, and say they are ready to move on with the positive memories that they have of Amara, Sophie and Cecilia.  Fundraising for the park being built in the girls’ names goes on, and we will continue to update with announcements of the fundraising events.

Amara, Sophie and Cecilia Schaffhausen

Amara, Sophie and Cecilia Schaffhausen

CCA0078

Amara, Sophie and Cea Schaffhausen - Heaven to Home

LTWH CCA GRAPHIC

~ by LTWH on September 5, 2013.

One Response to “AMARA, SOPHIE AND CECILIA WERE MURDERED BY THEIR FATHER, AARON SCHAFFHAUSEN, AS AN ACT OF REVENGE AGIST HIS WIFE FOR THEIR DIVORCE – CCA0078 – UPDATED 01.30.2014”

  1. This story made me cry

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