River Falls home of 3 slain girls in foreclosure

  • Article by: PAM LOUWAGIE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 29, 2012 - 11:09 PM

St. Paul mortgage holder began process after real estate agency opted not to sell the property.

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Jessica Schaffhausen turned ownership of the house over to Aaron Schaffhausen in January. He hadn’t made payments on the property since the summer.

Photo: Jerry Holt, Star Tribune

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The River Falls, Wis., house where three sisters were slain in July is in the process of foreclosure as the property's owner -- their father -- sits in jail charged with their deaths.

A St. Paul credit union has moved to foreclose against Aaron Schaffhausen, saying he has missed the monthly $812 payment on the property at 2790 Morningside Av. since Aug. 1. Schaffhausen took out a 30-year mortgage on the house for $170,153 in April, according to the complaint filed in St. Croix County Circuit Court.

The foreclosure filing came just after a real estate agency abandoned efforts to try to sell the property. In an e-mail to the agency, the girls' mother had objected that Schaffhausen stood to make "tens of thousands of dollars" if the house were sold.

County property records show Schaffhausen and his wife bought the property together in 2006 for $247,990. Jessica Schaffhausen turned ownership of the place over to him in January, around the time the couple divorced. She continued to live there with the couple's three daughters.

The four-bedroom house had been listed for sale earlier this month at $229,900, but Edina Realty dropped the listing after Jessica Schaffhausen sent the e-mail. "What you may not have thought through in accepting this job is that if you do succeed in selling it that you will allow their murderer to not only benefit financially but will also disqualify him for the public defender he is using which would mean that the entire criminal trial process would be set back drastically," the e-mail said, according to a copy she posted on Facebook.

Aaron Schaffhausen, a carpenter who lived in Minot, N.D., is accused of killing Amara, 11, Sophie, 8, and Cecilia, 5, on July 10 while his ex-wife was at work. He is charged with three counts of first-degree intentional homicide and arson after authorities also found a gas fireplace turned on and gasoline poured in the basement.

Aaron Schaffhausen has 20 days to respond in the foreclosure case, filed by Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union. An attorney for Affinity Plus did not return a telephone message Thursday. Schaffhausen had no attorney listed in court records for the civil case.

His criminal case is scheduled for a hearing on Monday, with a trial scheduled for April. During a hearing last week, Schaffhausen's attorney hinted that his client might enter an insanity plea.

Pam Louwagie • 612-673-7102

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