Utah Man Who Killed His Family Was Previously Investigated For Child Abuse
On Jan. 4, 2023, Michael Haight, a 42-year-old Utah man, killed seven members of his family before turning the gun on himself.
On Jan. 4, 2023, Michael Haight, 42, died by suicide after murdering his estranged wife, her mother, and their five children. The fatal shootings shocked the small Enoch community where they lived, but local police have now revealed that he had been investigated for child abuse two years before the killings.
According to The New York Times, a report from the Enoch City Police Department showed that, during a 2020 child abuse investigation, authorities learned about “a violent pattern of behavior” from his oldest daughter Macie Haight.
Macie, then 14, told investigators that her father had assaulted her over the last three years. His abuse included shaking and choking. He had recently grabbed her and banged her into a wooden piece along the back of a sofa. She expressed her terror and fears that the violence would escalate even more, and she explained how her father had once choked her. The police report revealed that “she was very afraid that he was going to keep her from breathing and kill her”.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Mr. Haight denied assaulting Macie. He said that she was “mouthy” and admitted that he got angry, blaming some of his struggles on his father’s death and brother’s divorce. He said that things he had done were not meant to be an assault.
Macie told officers about how her father frequently belittled her mother, but he denied those charges, too. He did admit to checking his wife’s iPad and cellphone to monitor what she was saying about his family.
The officer who interviewed the father of five called his behavior “very close to assaultive” but did not charge him with any crime. His wife, Tausha Haight, had told officers that filing criminal charges wasn’t necessary and that she hoped the investigation would be a wake-up call for him to change his behavior. The officer told her there “was no indication that there would be any violent behavior on Michael’s part,” according to the police report.
Approximately two years later and only weeks before the murder-suicide, on Dec. 21, 2022, Tausha Haight filed for divorce.
Macie was 17 when she was killed by her father. According to her obituary, she was very helpful and loving with her four younger siblings, and she was set to graduate this year with both her high school diploma and an Associate’s Degree from Southern Utah University.
According to the Deseret News, the other victims included Briley, 12; 7-year-old twins Ammon and Sienna; and Gavin, 4, as well as 40-year-old Tausha and her mother, 78-year-old Gail Earl.