Posted by Travis Uresk | Jan. 18th, 2023 | Domestic Violence & Murder |
By Laura Barcella
Published on January 18, 2023
Michael Haight's daughter Macie, then 14, told police her father's abuse started in 2017.
A Utah man who killed his wife, his wife's mother, and his five children before turning the gun on himself had been involved in two prior child-abuse investigations before the murders, the Associated Press and other outlets report.
Police records associated with Michael Haight showed multiple prior allegations of violent or abusive behavior directed at his family, the AP reports.
Haight's eldest daughter Macie, then 14, told police in a 2020 interview that her father had "been assaultive with her" multiple times, per Fox 13. She reportedly said she was "very afraid that he was going to keep her from breathing and kill her."
The child also allegedly told police her father's abuse had started in 2017, according to the Associated Press, and those assaults involved various incidents of "choking and shaking."
In a 2020 police interview following the alleged abuse, Haight reportedly claimed he had not attacked Macie. He did say she was "mouthy," however, and admitted he he'd grown upset with the teen, per reports.
Haight also allegedly admitted to police that he'd confiscated his wife Tausha's cellphone and iPad so he could monitor her text messages. He was hoping to track whether she was complaining about anything occurring within the household, the AP claims.
Tausha Haight did not files charges against her husband for any of these incidents, though she reportedly told authorities she hoped being questioned by police would be a "wake-up call" for him.
In a statement released Tuesday night, Enoch city officials said the 2020 investigation did not meet needed requirements to move ahead with prosecution against Haight.
"This release has resulted in inquiries as to policy and procedures adhered to by law enforcement in connection with these incidents," the statement reads, in part. "The Enoch City Police Department takes each report of child abuse and domestic violence seriously and thoroughly investigates each and every allegation reported."
The Iron County Attorney's office told the AP in a Tuesday statement that while their office had been contacted in 2020, they'd determined there was insufficient evidence to pursue charges.
"This conclusion was likely based on an inability to prove each element of the offense(s) beyond reasonable doubt and/or statute of limitations barriers," the statement said, per the outlet.
On Jan. 4, police discovered the bodies of five children and three adults who'd been shot to death inside their Enoch City home.
Investigators determined that Michael Haight, 42, killed his wife, Tausha, 40, her mother, Gail Earl, and the five children he shared with Tausha: three girls and two boys ranging from the ages of 4 to 17. Michael then turned the gun on himself, Enoch city Manager Rob Dotson said during a press conference streamed on Facebook.
Two weeks before the shooting, Tausha had filed for divorce from her husband, but Enoch Mayor Geoffrey Chesnut claimed it was too early for investigators to determine if that was a motive in the killings.
Just days ago, an obituary for Haight — posted online and also printed in a local newspaper — sparked outrage after it claimed the 42-year-old father who annihilated his family was actually a dedicated family man.
The now-private obit shares Haight's accomplishments, with no mention of the murders. Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, a gun violence prevention organization, shared the obit on Twitter before it was made private.
Obituary for the Utah man who fatally shot his five children, mother-in-law and estranged wife: “Michael made it a point to spend quality time with each and every one of his children. Michael enjoyed making memories with the family.”
Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts)
The obituary before it was taken down and hidden from the public
"Michael made it a point to spend quality time with each and every one of his children," the obituary reads. "Michael enjoyed making memories with the family."
It also said Michael "lived a life of service" with The Church of Jesus Christ and Latter-Day Saints, coaching his kids' sports teams, attending school concerts and "doing home-improvement projects, sledding" and more.
The obit also touched on Michael's career at an insurance company, noting, "He recently sold his business to allow more flexibility to spend time with his family. "
A separate obituary for Tausha described her as an attentive and caring mother. "She was an incredible mother who constantly sacrificed everything for her children," it says, also describing her five children with no mention of the way they'd died.
If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.
Tausha Haight's obituary
Tausha Shaunell Earl Haight of Enoch, Utah. Born January 19th, 1982, to Boyd Jay and Gail Earl Passed from this life on January 04, 2023, at the age of 40. She graduated from Moapa Valley High School in 1999 and from SUU with a bachelor’s degree in Child Development Studies in 2004. On May 16th, 2003, she married Michael O. Haight.
Her greatest desire in life was to be a mother and raise children that exemplified Christ's attributes. She was an incredible mother who constantly sacrificed everything for her children. They were truly the most precious possessions she had. She taught them love, kindness, service, dedication and the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ through her example.
Her children knew they were of highest importance in her life as she would drop anything and everything for her children. While raising her children she held many callings in her church where she served faithfully and tirelessly to help others reach their goals and aspirations in life. She truly loved those she served. Her favorite hobbies were reading, traveling, serving in her church but she found special joy in spending time with her children and enjoying the spice of life that each of them brought to her.
She is survived by her family consisting of Darren Earl (Carmel Ann), Terry Earl (Linda), Brett Earl (Jennie), Justin Earl (Alyssa), Kandace Booth (Trevis), Stacha Westbrook (Justin), along with many nieces and nephews. Tausha and her children along with her mother traveled together to join her grandparents and father Boyd Jay Earl who preceded her in death. Macie Lynn, age 17, was born on October 13th, 2005. She was the oldest of 5 children and was a huge help to her mom with her other siblings.
She played games with them, helped them with their homework and chores and was always helpful in getting them ready for bed. She was on schedule to graduate this year from high school and at the same time would receive her Associates Degree from SUU. She planned on attending SUU in the fall where she was going to pursue a degree in digital marketing. She was active in her church and had many friends there and at school. She was truly a blessing to many people. She passed from this life on January 04, 2023, at the age of 17. She is preceded in death by her Grandfather Robin Haight, Grandfather Boyd Earl, and traveled with her mother, grandmother and brothers and sisters to meet those who preceded her.
Her sweet, kind and loving soul will be missed.
Briley Ann, age 12, was born September 28, 2010. She was a kind, thoughtful and tenderhearted person that was always thinking of others. She loved music and was always singing, humming or playing her many memorized music pieces on the piano or cello. She loved to read and shared with any and all the best books that they should begin to read. Many times, she expressed the desire to be a librarian so that she could read all day. She loved school, church and spending time with her friends when she wasn’t reading or enjoying music. She passed from this life on January 04, 2023, at the age of 12. She is preceded in death by her Grandfather Robin Haight, Grandfather Boyd Earl, and traveled with her mother, grandmother and brothers and sisters to meet those who preceded her. Her love and hugs will be missed by all.
Ammon Michael, age 7, was born June 21, 2015. He was a very thoughtful and logical boy. He loved to build Legos and had just finished constructing the Titanic Lego kit. He was extremely imaginative, curious and loved to learn about anything that moved. This love for things that moved began at a very early age where he became obsessed with trains. Ammon passed from this life on January 04, 2023, at the age of 7. He was preceded in death by his Grandfather Robin Haight, Grandfather Boyd Earl, and traveled to meet family on the other side of the veil with his mother, grandmother and brother and sisters.
Sienna Belle, age 7 Born June 21, 2015. She had a vibrant and vivacious personality as she would pursue her hobbies and passions. She loved to take pictures with her camera and apply funny filters to them. She was studious with her schoolwork and enjoyed playing with friends and family. She had a tangible love for her brothers and sisters. Sienna passed from this life on January 04, 2023, at the age of 7. She was preceded in death by her Grandfather Robin Haight, Grandfather Boyd Earl, and traveled to meet family on the other side of the veil with her mother, grandmother and brothers and sisters.
Gavin Drew, age 4 Born June 12, 2018. He had the most mischievous look. When he would smile at you, you had to wonder what he had gotten into or what he was going to get in to. He gave the best hugs and always wanted to be in the middle of whatever was going on. He loved to give and get tickles. His sweet smile made everyone’s world light up. Gavin passed from this life on January 04, 2023, at the age of 4. He was preceded in death by his Grandfather Robin Haight, Grandfather Boyd Earl, and traveled to meet family on the other side of the veil with his mother, grandmother and brother and sisters.
Services for Gail, Tausha and her children will be held January 13th, 2023, at the La Verkin Stake Center 481 N Main St, La Verkin Utah 84745 at 10:00 am MST. Overflow will be sent to the La Verkin West Chapel located at 70 S 300 W, La Verkin, Utah 84745. Family and friends are invited to share tributes online. Arrangements and memorial tree planting by Serenity Funeral Home of Southern Utah, 435-986-9100.