Enoch father faced abuse accusations years before murder-suicide

Jan 17, 2023, 8:00 PM

a memorial with stuffed animals is pictured in front of the Haight home, a lethality assessment is ...

A memorial is pictured across the street from the Haight home in Enoch, Iron County, on Friday, Jan. 6, 2023. Police say Michael Haight shot seven members of his family before taking his own life. (Laura Seitz/Deseret News)

(Laura Seitz/Deseret News)

ENOCH, Utah — A father who killed his entire family in the southern Utah town of Enoch before taking his own life faced child abuse accusations just over two years before the murder-suicide. 

The revelation comes from Enoch police records, obtained by KSL through a public records request. 

Investigators believe Michael Haight, 42, murdered his estranged wife, Tausha, their five children, and Tausha’s mother, Gail Earl, before killing himself in their Enoch home on Jan. 4. 

Abuse allegations come to light in Enoch family murder

According to a police report filed in 2020, Enoch police and the Utah Division of Child and Family Services both investigated the complaint. It involved Haight’s oldest daughter, Macie. Police met with Macie Haight at the Iron County Children’s Justice Center, where she told them her father had become “assaultive” with her at several points over the prior three years. 

In that interview, Macie Haight told police her father had shaken her by the shoulders, knocked her head into the back of the couch, and choked her on separate occasions. Macie Haight also told police she had observed evidence of controlling behavior from her father toward her mother, such as him taking away Tausha Haight’s cellphone. 

Michael Haight admitted losing his temper and sometimes yelling at his children, but characterized the interactions as a “misunderstanding,” according to the police report. 

“He stated that he has never mistreated anyone in his family,” the officer who conducted the interview wrote, adding that Haight “denied ever shaking [Macie] by the shoulders or grabbing her around the neck.” 

However, Haight apparently also admitted to confiscating his wife’s phone “to look at the text messages because she might be talking bad about his mom,” the officer wrote. 

He also admitted that he took his wife’s iPad to work with him to monitor her messages, but lied to her about taking it. 

“A wake-up call for Michael”

Police wrote that in a follow-up interview with Tausha Haight, she wanted to know if the family was safe. 

“I told her that there was no indication that there would be any violent behavior on Michael’s part,” the officer wrote, adding that she should call 911 in the event of a problem. 

“Tausha indicated that she is in hopes that this case will be a wake-up call for Michael,” the officer wrote next. 

According to the report, police, the Iron County Attorney’s Office, and DCFS agreed “criminal charges would not be appropriate,” and police closed the case. 

The documents KSL requested from Enoch City officials detailed other minor encounters with police. Those included traffic violations and noise complaints filed by Michael Haight, but no other accusations of abuse committed by him. 

Legislation under consideration in the 2023 legislative session would require police to conduct a lethality assessment in cases of suspected intimate partner violence. While that law was not yet on the books in 2020, the police records indicate a lethality assessment was part of the investigation into the complaint against Michael Haight. 

Read more: 

If you or someone you know is experiencing trouble linked to domestic violence, the following resources are available.

Utah Domestic Violence LINKLine
1-800-897-LINK (5465)
If LINKLine advocates experience an increased call volume, they will forward calls to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

StrongHearts Native Helpline

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Southern Utah

Ruby Franke stands with her attorney, Lamar Winward, at her sentencing on Tuesday. Her brother and ...

Emily Ashcraft

Ruby Franke’s parents, brother say Franke was brainwashed

In letters Franke's family said she had isolated herself from them, and they compared her co-defendant Jodi Hildebrandt to a cult leader.

1 day ago

House fire in St. George. Initial investigations suggest it was accidental....

Derrick Jones

Family displaced after a fire in their St. George home

Emergency fire crews responded to a St. George fire after a passerby saw smoke from the garage of a home. 

3 days ago

Areas of yard burned after boy caught on fire. (Hurricane Valley Fire & Rescue)...

Adam Small

12-year-old boy burned after dumping gasoline on campfire, authorities say

Authorities said the 12-year-old boy sustained second and third-degree burns to 8% of his body, mostly around his leg and foot. 

12 days ago

stolen painting john opie the schoolmistress with elderly man looking on...

Becky Bruce

“Priceless” painting stolen by mob turns up in St. George

A stolen painting, a John Opie original described as "priceless" by the FBI, turned up in the estate of a St. George man. 

29 days ago

A man who police say used meth about an hour before taking three children for a ride in a utility t...

Pat Reavy,

Toddler injured in UTV rollover; driver arrested

A man allegedly said he took meth before crashing a utility terrain vehicle with children aboard has been arrested in central Utah

2 months ago

The Wahweap Marina and parts of Lake Powell in Arizona, foreground, and Utah, background, are pictu...

Mariah Maynes

Lake Powell Pipeline opponents urge cancellation of the project

Colorado River Basin conservation groups cite drought, Washington County needs, and the water rights of indigenous populations in their request.

2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Enoch father faced abuse accusations years before murder-suicide