Slain Utah girl texted friend that dad was acting strange and she was worriedPublished at
ENOCH, Utah (KSL.com) — Enoch police are searching the cellphones and electronic devices of an Enoch family murdered in their home by their father for potentially chilling text messages.
Neighbors told officers that one of Michael Haight’s daughters sent a text message to a friend the night before she was found deceased, “stating her dad came home, was acting strange, and she was worried,” according to police.
The next day, on Jan. 4, Tausha Haight, 40; Haight’s mother, Gail Earl, 78; and Haight’s children — Macie Lynn Haight, 17; Briley Ann Haight, 12; Sienna Belle Haight, 7; Ammon Haight, 7; and Gavin Drew Haight, 4 — were found shot to death by the children’s father and Haight’s husband, 42-year-old Michael Orwin Haight, who then took his own life. The bodies were found inside their home at 4923 N. Albert Drive.
On Tuesday, a search warrant affidavit was unsealed in 5th District Court stating that neighbors, not police, made the initial tragic discovery.
On Thursday, a second search warrant was unsealed. The warrant seeks a judge’s approval for seizing electronic devices in the Haight home, including an iPhone found on Macie’s bedside table, a second iPhone “on a luggage pile a couple feet from her bed,” and five phones, tablets and iPads found in the master bathroom attached to the master bedroom where the bodies of two adults and a child were discovered.
An iPhone was also located next to Michael Haight’s body.
The electronic devices were sent to the Utah Tech Digital Forensics Lab where it could take several weeks to extract data.
The new information comes on the heels of the revelation made earlier this week in a search warrant that neighbors were the ones who first discovered the bodies of the Haight family.
A press release issued by Enoch officials on Jan. 5 said, “Concerned family and friends contacted police after not hearing from the victims. Officers entered the residence at approximately 4 p.m. and discovered three adults and five minors deceased inside the home.”
But according to the warrant, before police entered the home, “neighbors from the (family’s) church made entry into the home. Deceased bodies were discovered.”
The affidavit adds: “Michael was positively identified as one of the deceased by one of the neighbors who went into the home.”
The warrant does not indicate why neighbors believed a welfare check was needed and decided to enter the home.
Typically for crimes of this magnitude, multiple search warrants will be filed by police looking at different aspects of an investigation.
Although a possible motive for the killings has not been announced, Tausha Haight filed for divorce on Dec. 21. Earl had moved in with the family to help her daughter with the transition. In 2020, Enoch police investigated reports of possible physical and emotional abuse by Michael Haight against his eldest daughter, but criminal charges were never filed as Tausha Haight told police she hoped her husband was on the road to change and that criminal charges wouldn’t be appropriate at that time.
In the days leading up to the horrific murders, Michael Haight had all the guns from the home removed, according to Tausha Haight’s relatives.
The night before the bodies were discovered, Tausha Haight and one of her daughters were seen at a church function, according to the city. The mother was scheduled to meet with an undisclosed person on the morning of Jan. 4. When she did not show up for that appointment, the person she was supposed to meet with called police requesting a welfare check.
About the same time the call for a welfare check was made, Cedar City police took a missing persons report involving Michael Haight, the warrant states. His Ford F-150 was found parked at his parents’ residence in Cedar City.
In addition to electronic devices, a “Springfield XDM .40-caliber w/magazine and four rounds” was recovered at the house, the warrant states.
Funeral services for Tausha Haight, her mother and her children, were held Jan. 13 at the La Verkin Stake Center.