Community Remembers 3 Girls Killed by their Father

Created: 07/19/2014 7:18 PM
By: Kate Renner

(KSTP) -- An event was held Saturday in remembrance of three girls who were killed by their father at their home in western Wisconsin two years ago.

Several members of the River Falls community participated in the second annual Tri-Angels 5k fun run and 10k race. It honored Amara, Sophie, and Cecilia Schaffhausen.

The trio were killed by their father, Aaron Schaffhausen, in July 2012. Schaffhausen was sentenced to life in prison for their deaths last year. 

Their mother, Jessica Peterson, is finding the strength to move forward as each day passes.

"I still live here in River Falls and honestly every where I go is a memorable spot for me every day," Peterson said. "Having the race, having people be able to walk in my steps where the girls and I went is very special."

Participants moved as a pack along a unique trail. It followed the short lives of the three girls, whose ages ranged from 5 to 11 at the time of their death.

"Each mile is dedicated to a girl, Amara Sophie, Cecilia. We have pictures of the girls as they grow up from baby to the end of their lives, along with balloons of their favorite colors," said Samantha Jensen, Race Coordinator.

The race started at Hoffman Park, where plans to build a playground to honor the girls are in the works.

The race ended near the girls' grave sites.

"There's lots of emotions going through the whole route," said Jensen.

"I still have my sadness and I deal with that every day," Peterson said. "I miss the girls tremendously, but it's on days like this I feel them with me."

The mother has found new sources of joy this past year. She remarried and had a baby girl, named Trinity Hope.

"So it's been a big year and Trinity has really kind of pulled us together and given us something to look forward to," Peterson said.

She also looks forward to next spring, when ground will be broken on the new playground. It's designed to accommodate all children, especially those with disabilities.

"I just look forward to seeing all these kids playing, and that's the image I get in my head is coming to the playground and seeing lots of kids crawling all over everything," said Peterson.

The Tri-Angel playground needs a total of $555,000 in donations in order to start building. At last check, they've raised $350,000.

After proceeds from the race are counted, they are expected to be significantly closer to their goal.

Community remembers 3 girls killed by their father.