Mother of slain River Falls girls driven by playground project


The mother of three girls who were killed by their father in their River Falls, Wis., home last summer spoke with WCCO in her first lengthy on-camera interview, aired Tuesday night. The story mostly chronicles Jessica Schaffhausen's effort to raise money for a 10,000-square-foot playground to honor the girls’ memory.

She told WCCO that family members thought the memorial project would be a great way celebrate the girls’ lives. She envisions remaking an aging playground at Hoffman Park in River Falls. Two high school students are helping her lead a fundraising effort, including a 5K fun run.

“I think this park gives everyone the focus they need,” she said.

Schaffhausen's ex-husband Aaron Schaffhausen, killed the 11-, 8-, and 5-year-old girls on July 10. Jurors in April rejected his insanity plea and sentencing is expected this summer.

Jessica Schaffhausen says her girls are always on her mind.

“I just focus on that the girls would want me to keep going, and so I try to do that as best I can,” she told WCCO. “My girls were amazing and wonderful, and they were here for a reason.”

Here's how to donate to the park project.

And here's the WCCO interview:

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