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December 19, 2014

Tragedy in River Falls: 3 children found dead, father in custody

A man is in custody in River Falls, Wis., after his three daughters were found dead at their home.

Investigators on Tuesday found a strong smell of gas in the home when they arrived, although they have not specified a cause of death for the children. Police were urged to go to the home by the children’s mother, who was not at the house and feared for their safety. She and the children’s father are divorced, the River Falls Journal reports.

Police identified the suspect as Aaron Schaffhausen, age 34, media reports say.

The children were ages 5 to 11, the Star Tribune reports.

WCCO identifies the girls as Amara, Sophie and Cea Schaffhausen. A vigil is being planned for the girls, the Associated Press reports.

Neighbors in the quiet college town roughly 25 miles southeast of St. Paul were shocked, the Pioneer Press reports. Neighbor Ashley Bauman said, “The girls were always really friendly. They would be out playing” in the neighborhood.