On January 4, 2023, concerned friends of the Haight family from Enoch, Utah entered their home at 4923 N. Albert Drive. Inside, they found the bodies of the 8 family members.
Michael Haight (42) was found dead along with his wife Tausha Haight, 40; Tausha’s mother, Gail Earl, 78; and the couple’s children — Macie Lynn Haight, 17; Briley Ann Haight, 12; Sienna Belle Haight, 7; Ammon Haight, 7; and Gavin Drew Haight, 4.
City Manager Rob Dotson said “Evidence suggests that the suspect took his own life after killing seven others in the home.” The suspect is referring to the father of the family, Michael.
He also said “Many of us have served with them in church, in the community and gone to school with these individuals.
“This community at this time is hurting. They’re feeling loss, they’re feeling pain and they have a lot of questions.”
The night before the bodies were discovered, Tausha and one of her daughters were seen at a church function, according to the city. Tausha had been scheduled to meet up with someone on the morning of January 4, and when she didn’t show up that person called police for a welfare check. I think that police were in the process of looking into starting the welfare check when the neighbours discovered the bodies. At the same time that the welfare check call was made, someone made a missing person report for Michael. His Ford F-150 was found parked at his parents’ residence in Cedar City.
Michael and Tausha had been married for over 20 years. What we learned since the murder-suicide is that on December 21, 2022, Tausha filed for divorce.
We have also learned that on August 27, 2020, police responded to the Haights’ home after allegations that Michael assaulted Macie, the couple’s oldest daughter, over several years. The allegations also included “a lot of yelling and emotional abuse.”
In a police report, Macie spoke about three instances of alleged physical abuse from her father. She also said Michael would talk about “how stupid and lazy Tausha is” and would take Tausha’s phone in an attempt to “keep her from leaving the house.”
“She stated that there have been several times over the last few years that her father, Michael, has become assaultive with her,” reads the report, where Macie, at the time likely 14 or 15 years old, tells police the first instance of abuse came about three years prior in the family’s piano room.
“Her father became angry at her and grabbed her by the shoulders. He shook her and her head banged into the wooden piece along the back of the couch,” the report reads. “She stated that she was terrified that he was going to hurt her. She stated that she did not suffer any injury from this event. She was mostly scared.”
Two years before the 2020 report, there was another incident where Michael allegedly grabbed his daughter “around the neck and choked her” while they were in the pantry area of the family’s kitchen, the report says.
“She stated that she was very afraid that he was going to keep her from breathing and kill her,” the officer’s report reads. “I asked her if she actually lost her breath. She stated that she did not. She stated that he did not choke her.”
According to the police reports, there was a third incident in the summer of 2020, happened in the family’s garage after they had returned home from a camping trip.
“(Macie) stated that her father became angry with her and had grabbed her by the shoulders and shook her. She stated that she did not sustain any injury,” the report reads.
Michael denied grabbing his daughter in an assaultive manner, shaking her by the shoulders or grabbing her neck. He also said he never belittled his wife.
He did tell police “that he does lose his temper and yell at the kids.”
“Later he stated that if he had indeed done these things it was not meant to be an assault. He stated that Macie is mouthy and he gets angry at her,” the report reads.
At the time, Michael told police he’d had a “tough year” with his father’s death and his brother in the midst of a divorce. He believed Tausha and his soon to be ex-sister-in-law had “been talking and saying mean things about his mother and sister.”
That was Michael’s reasoning behind taking Tausha’s phone, he told police. He also admitted to taking her iPad to work with him for “several days to look at her texts and messages.”
When his wife asked, repeatedly, about the iPad, Michael denied taking it — eventually, he “slipped it back where it would be found at the house.”
“I advised Michael that his behavior was very close to assaultive,” the officer writes in the supplemental report. “I advised him that I did not intend to charge him with any crime at this time. I talked to him about the importance of Macie continuing to speak with a therapist. I asked him to not interfere with that. I also advised him that he should continue seeing someone about his anger. I advised him that I would much rather be having this conversation with him instead of taking him to jail.”
The report concluded with “Tausha indicated that she is in hopes that this case will be a wake-up call for Michael. She stated that she does not believe that criminal charges will be appropriate at this point.”
There is a comment online that we obviously can’t verify but it seems to run along the same lines as the behaviour in the police report.
Tausha’s family issued a statement about the crime, indicating that Michael had removed all the guns from the house prior to the murder/suicide and that this left Tausha and the kids vulnerable.
In late January, the search warrant for the Haight home was unsealed.
It is believed that Macie had told a friend that Michael was acting strangely.
“We were also told that one of the daughters texted a friend stating her dad came home, was acting strange, and she was worried.”
Police took multiple iPhones from the home, including one from Macie’s bedside table.
Another phone was found near Macie’s bed and multiple phones and tablets were located in the master bathroom. A phone that was laying next to Michael was also taken.
“It is probable that these devices will contain evidence as to the timeline of when the homicide took place,” documents state. “It is also probable that there will be evidence of domestic violence related crimes.”
Police also took a gun from the home – “Springfield XDM .40-caliber w/magazine and four rounds”.
On Friday January 13, Tausha was buried along with her mother and children.
Over 800 people attended their services. Members of Tausha’s family spoke.
“Nothing meant more to Mom and Tausha than family,” Brett Earl said. “There’s a story of two families, hurt and broken through unthinkable tragedy. However, only a tender, merciful and loving Heavenly Father and God can take this tragedy that has touched us so deeply and reach deep inside each of us and turn it into a miracle (of) healing, growth and progression.”
“I would invite you today to be a little kinder. Be a little nicer, be a little more understanding. That is my prayer,” Darren Earl said.
Not surprisingly really, Michael was not buried with the rest of the family.
I believe services for him were private. An obituary for him was released and was taken down very quickly.
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