The two-story home where three young girls died at the hands of their father in River Falls, Wis., is being dismantled piece by piece this week. The land it's set on will ultimately be sold so that proceeds can go toward building a playground in the memory of 11-year-old Amara, 8-year-old Sophie, and 5-year-old Cecilia Schaffhausen.
The Affinity Plus Credit Union unsuccessfully tried selling the home at auction last month, about 30 days after Aaron Schaffhausen received three consecutive life sentences without parole for the murders of his daughters, which prosecutors said he committed to exact revenge against his ex-wife, Jessica, the mother of the girls.
Jessica Schaffhausen has never been back inside the home, reported St. Paul TV station KTSP, but the demolition is part of her healing process. "I am very happy with the outcome of the house situation," Jessica Schaffhausen told AOL Real Estate. "My family worked with Affinity Plus Credit Union to come up with this resolution. Everything that is useful in the house is being donated to Habitat for Humanity and then the rest of the house will be demolished. The lot will be sold and the proceeds from that sale will go to the Tri-Angels Playground fundraiser."
KTSP reported that local real estate agents estimate that the land will sell for $20,000 to $30,000. So far, $110,000 has been raised for the playground, along with commitments for more $120,000 in materials and labor, reported KARE-TV in Minneapolis.
"People who need homes will be helped by this, my neighbors' property values will not be damaged (as a low-level house sale will not be recorded but instead a fair market lot sale), and the community benefits from having a state of the art accessible playground built in the town for children and families of all abilities," Schaffhausen told us. "I can't imagine a better outcome for a difficult problem."
Jessica and the children remained living in the home after the 2012 divorce, renting it from Aaron Schaffhausen after he moved to Minot, N.D. As AOL Real Estate reported in July, county property records show that a quit-claim deed was filed Jan. 19, 2012 to put the home solely in Aaron Schaffhausen's name. A refinanced mortgage of $170,153.25 through Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union was recorded on May 8, 2012. The Schaffhausen's originally purchased the newly built corner home in October 2006 from Lennar subsidiary U.S. Home Corp., for $247,990. The original mortgage was for $185,900 through Universal American Mortgage Co., the financial services subsidiary of Lennar Corp.
Aaron Schaffhausen, stopped making payments after his arrest. He owed $181,028.21 on the property as of February, reported the St. Paul Pioneer Press. A representative of Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union bid $189,261.81 on the property at 2790 Morningside Avenue, after there were no other bidders.
Aaron Schaffhausen's attempt through his mother to sell the 2,320-square-foot home about four months after the murders was thwarted after his former wife contacted the listing agency via an email she later copied to Facebook, reported the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Based on listing photos obtained by AOL Real Estate, some of the items that may be donated to Habitat for Humanity include the stainless steel appliances, sliding glass doors, wood from the deck and pergola, and ceiling fans.