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Father in custody in deaths of 3 children in River Falls, Wis. (video)

The block surrounding a home on Morningstar Avenue on River Falls' east side remained barricaded and guarded by police early Wednesday morning as staff from the Department of Justice Crime Scene unit and area officers continued the death investigation. Steve Dzubay photo.2 / 2

About two hours after he allegedly killed his three children at the home they once shared, a former River Falls man turned himself in to police at their station, soon after officers had begun searching for him.

Police identified the suspect as Aaron Schaffhausen, age 34. Court files indicate his last known address as 1740 13th SE, Minot, N.D.

Schaffhausen was in police custody and was expected to be transferred to the St. Croix County Jail in Hudson later Tuesday evening.

The man's ex-wife called police at 3:30 p.m. and asked them to check the welfare of her children at 2790 Morningside Ave. -- a neighborhood of single- and multi-family homes in the Highview Meadows subdivision on River Falls' east side.

Police entered the home and apparently detected the heavy smell of natural gas. A short time later, they put out an urgent call for an ambulance for an unconscious person and asked for firefighters, presumably to ventilate the house. Ambulance personnel were at the scene for about 30 minutes but left without transporting anyone.

Meanwhile, police set up a perimeter around the neighborhood, apparently looking for a suspect. Assistance was also requested from Pierce and St. Croix County deputies.

Officers obtained the suspect's cell phone and were able to get an approximate location in the area through the service provider. At 4:45 p.m. a sheriff's dispatcher told officers the suspect had turned himself in.

Court records indicate the couple filed a joint petition for divorce in August 2011. The divorce was finalized in January, and the couple had joint legal custody of children.

Late Tuesday afternoon, a River Falls police officer acknowledged that a homicide investigation was underway and the St. Croix County Medical Examiner and State Crime Lab personnel were en route.