Utah man who murdered family worried about portraying 'perfect life,' report says - East Idaho News

Utah man who murdered family worried about portraying ‘perfect life,’ report says

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ENOCH, Utah (KSL.com) — A final report on the investigation of the shocking murder of a southern Utah family earlier this year at the hands of the father notes friends and neighbors described him as a man obsessed with maintaining a perfect public image.

The investigation report released Friday by Enoch police includes the timeline leading up to when officers entered the Haight home; the evidence collected from the crime scene; discoveries police made about Michael Haight’s actions leading up to the killings; and the suicide note he left behind.

The rural southern Utah community — and the country — was shaken Jan. 4 after Haight, 42, shot and killed seven members of his family before taking his own life in their family home at 4923 N. Albert Drive.

The victims included his wife, Tausha Haight, 40; Tausha Haight’s mother, Gail Earl, 78; Haight’s three daughters, Macie, 17; Briley, 12; and Sienna, 7; and two sons, Ammon, 7; and Gavin, 4.

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Body camera footage

The first video released Friday shows officers entering the Haight family garage through a side door, then walking through the house. Police had earlier attempted to perform a welfare check after Tausha Haight did not appear for an appointment. A concerned neighbor later entered the home and called police after finding a body inside.

Officers entered the master bedroom on the main floor and found the body of Gavin on the floor. In the same room, they found the bodies of Tausha Height and Gail Earl on the bed. The bodies of Sienna, Ammon, Briley and Macie were each found in their own bedrooms. The report noted that some of the children were in bed.

Each family member died from a gunshot wound to the head, and some had been shot multiple times, according to the report.

The body of Michael Haight was found on top of a sleeping bag in a basement room that had exercise equipment in it. There was a pistol between his legs and a handwritten suicide note next to his body, the report states.

In the note, he called himself an “honorable good man” and blamed his wife for their family troubles.

“I would rather rot in hell than to put up with another day of this manipulation and control over me,” Haight said in the note. “This is nonsense and I can’t handle it for one more day. We will not be a burden on society. I kept asking for help and you wouldn’t listen.”

Officers can be heard in the body camera videos discussing what they found in the home and needing to leave everything in the crime scene untouched. The report notes that some of the Enoch officers knew the family well. Officers from Enoch, Cedar City and the Iron County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene.

Evidence collected from the scene included ammunition from the center console of a Chevy pickup truck, bullet fragments, phones, tablets and a computer.

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Report reveals new details about Michael Haight’s history
The report points to recent issues at Michael Haight’s work at an insurance agency.

One of his clients at Allstate Insurance Company said when he tried to call Michael Haight in December, around two weeks before the murder-suicide, he was redirected to a call center and told that Michael was no longer affiliated with Allstate.

Tausha Haight told her attorney that her husband had sold his Allstate company. Conversely, several other friends and neighbors said Michael Haight was recently fired from Allstate and was in the process of opening his own insurance company.

A friend of the man said he had asked him to sign a nondisclosure agreement about the fact that he had been fired from Allstate because of “improprieties in his books,” according to the report.

“The suspect was very worried about his appearance in every way,” the report said, referring to what an acquaintance said during an interview after the deaths. “He would do nothing to portray anything but a perfect life both personally and professionally.”

That was a theme that arose in several interviews police had with friends and neighbors of the Haights.

One neighbor who frequently spent time with Tausha Haight said she had confided in her that Michael Haight was “very concerned” about keeping up appearances, had been mean to her “for a long time,” and his abuse was starting to extend to his children, according to the report.

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This neighbor also told police Tausha Haight had said each child had about $20,000 in savings accounts that Michael had withdrawn, and she didn’t know why. The neighbor said there were several guns Tausha Haight had inherited from her father, including some hunting rifles and at least one handgun, that Michael Haight had removed from the house.

A friend of Macie’s said in an interview that Macie had a secret phone hidden in her room and would record her father when he would “act crazy” to provide evidence to help her parents’ divorce. Macie also said she was “very excited that they were getting divorced” so she wouldn’t have to spend much time with her father, the report says. The friend said Tausha Haight found the phone soon before Christmas and took it away.

Tausha Haight had her attorney serve Michael Haight with divorce papers on Dec. 27, 2022. The report notes that later the same day, Michael Haight texted her “asking her how her day was,” and she asked if he received the papers. He then told her to leave their home before he got there and to leave the children with him. She took the children to stay at her mother’s house.

Earl, Tausha Haight’s mother, appeared to have been staying with the family at the time of the murders because of safety concerns with Michael Haight refusing to leave the home, police noted in the report. Police said he seemed to have been sleeping in the workout room in the basement, as there was a sleeping bag and pillow in the room, and all his clothing was piled on a couch outside the room.

Tausha Haight’s attorney who prepared the divorce papers said he met with her on Jan. 3 and described her mood as “happy.” She told the attorney that her husband was still in the home, had “moved” to the basement, and “wasn’t planning on leaving.” The attorney asked whether she was concerned about their safety. She said “Michael will sometimes yell at her and the children, but he would never physically harm any of them,” the report states.

Some residents and those who knew the Haights have said they did not see any red flags after Tausha Haight had recently initiated divorce proceedings, and the fact that Michael Haight committed the crimes makes the scenario even more shocking.

“The details in the released information are the results of the dedicated and passionate investigators who worked diligently over the past three months to discover the events leading up to the tragedy. Because the course of events in the materials cannot fully describe the complexity of the personal thoughts and emotions of those directly involved, we invite the media and general public to refrain from trying to fill in the spaces with their own conceptions,” Enoch City Manager Rob Dotson said in a statement released along with the final investigation report on Friday.

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“We join with all who are deeply saddened by this tragic incident and express our continued condolences to the family and friends of the victims,” Dotson said.

“Our community appreciates the respect of the professional media, the thoughts and prayers of caring people across the world and the offers for help,” Dotson said. “Every positive action produces a ripple of good will toward our shared belief in the greatness of humanity.”

Mental health resources for those affected by the Haight tragedy are available through the Enoch Community Trauma Recovery group.