Spousal Revenge Seen as Motivation After WI Man Kills Three Daughters


Homicide of children by a parent is more common than you might think, reports the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. One of every 33 homicides in the United States is the killing of a child under 18 by their parent, said Dr. Phillip Resnick, a professor of psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. It is the second most common type of family homicide, after a spousal killing. The paper’s report follows the allegations that Aaron Schaffhausen slashed the throats of his three daughters last week in River Falls, Wis.

Resnick conducted a seminal study on filicide in which he identified five types of the crime. One type — revenge against a spouse — may best fit the scenario authorities laid out in the charges against Schaffhausen, 34, who was divorced from the girls’ mother in January. The charges against Schaffhausen allege that he killed daughters Amara, 11, Sophie, 8, and Celia, 5, during an unscheduled visit to the River Falls home where they lived with their mother, Jessica. She told police he called her that afternoon and said: “You can come home now because I killed the kids.”

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