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Schaffhausen home being dismantled to aid Habitat

RIVER FALLS, Wis. -- The taking apart of the River Falls house where three sisters were murdered by their father in July 2012 began this week with materials to be salvaged for St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity, a local chapter of the national organization that helps needy families build affordable houses.

Phil Stotz of Springfield, Ill., the father of the sisters' mother, Jessica Schaffhausen, said finding a utilitarian purpose for the abandoned house was better than just bulldozing or burning it down.

"That would kind of be a waste, and I don't like wastefulness," he said. "Instead of being demolished, the house is being dismantled. This way, there is some good to come out of evil."

The house was the scene of the slaying of sisters Amara, Sophie and Cecilia Schaffhausen by their father, Aaron Schaffhausen. He is serving a life sentence.

Stotz and his wife, Becky, volunteer for Habitat for Humanity where they live. He said saving floor joists, roof trusses, the air conditioning unit and more from a 6-year-old house to benefit Habitat in the St. Croix Valley area was heartwarming.

St. Croix Valley Habitat Executive Director Dave Engstrom said the donation amounts to "thousands of dollars" in value, perhaps around $10,000.