River Falls, Wis. - With one final drop of a heavy-equipment claw, the final wall and roof section of the home on the corner of Ridgecrest and Morningside crumbled to the ground.
The Schaffhausen house is no more.
Crews have some clean-up work to do, but soon the lot that stood under the River Falls home where Aaron Schaffhausen killed his three daughters will be put up for sale, so that someone can build a new home and a new history there.
"There's a small amount of relief I guess, but at the same time it would have been nice to see another family move in with some kids," said neighbor Dan Callanan as he watched the walls fall. "As they tear it down, it almost seems like a closing."
For many in River Falls it will be a chapter they are relieved to see closed. It has been more than a year since Schaffhausen came back to town while his ex-wife was working, sent the babysitter home and then smothered and stabbed Amara, Sophie and Cecilia. He was convicted of three counts of first degree murder in July and sentenced to life in prison without parole.
The Affinity Plus Credit Union ended up with the note to the Schaffhausen home after it was foreclosed on, and no one bid on the property. Rather than try to sell a property with a violent and heart-breaking history, Affinity decided to dismantle the home, carefully salvaging materials that could be donated to the St. Croix chapter of Habitat for Humanity.
The proceeds from the sale of the lot itself will be donated and used to help fund construction of a park that will be built in the names of Amara, Sophie and Cecilia Schaffhausen.
"It's both an ending and a beginning, really," said Callanan with a sigh.
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