Watch full video: 8 dead in Utah murder-suicide after wife sought divorce

Watch full video: 8 dead in Utah murder-suicide after wife sought divorce

Two weeks after his wife filed for divorce, a Utah man shot and killed his wife, mother-in-law, and five of his children before turning the gun on himself.

In addition, police said at a news conference on Thursday that they had looked into the 42-year-old man and his family “a couple of years prior,” implying that there may have been past issues in the home. Jackson Ames, the chief of the Enoch Police Department, offered no other details.

According to Mayor Geoffrey Chesnut, investigators are aware of the divorce petition but are unsure if it was the cause of the murders.

A little rural community called Enoch in southern Utah, midway between Salt Lake City and Las Vegas, was shocked by the killings. It is located in one of the most rapidly developing regions of the nation, and large families who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, more commonly referred to as the Mormon church, like the majority of those in Utah, make up the majority of the new home communities.

The deceased were well-known local figures who belonged to the faith. According to city officials, a large number of residents attended church with the victims’ family members or attended the same schools as the kids.

The loss of these people, with whom many families have spent many nights, is a “devastating blow,” according to Chesnut.

The community is “feeling loss, they’re feeling anguish, and they have a lot of questions,” said to city manager Rob Dotson.

On January 5, 2023, in Enoch, Utah, a police crime scene trailer is parked outside the residence of Michael Haight as the wind tosses flowers that are a part of a temporary memorial. (Image: George Frey via Getty Images )
According to officials, Michael Haight is suspected of killing his wife, his mother-in-law, and the couple’s five children. They all appeared to have been shot.

According to court documents, Tausha Haight, 40, filed for divorce on December 21. Haight had received the documents on December 27, according to her lawyer’s statement on Thursday. The divorce’s causes were unknown, in part because Utah law prohibits the public from learning the specifics of divorce proceedings.

The night before the killings, Tausha Haight and other family members were spotted at a church group for young ladies, according to Chesnut. Someone reported that she had skipped an appointment earlier in the week, prompting police to be sent to the family’s house for a welfare check, according to city officials.

The victims were discovered within the residence. According to officials, the children, who included three girls and two boys, varied in age from 4 to 17. Gail Earl, Tausha Haight’s mother, was the other victim and she was 78 years old.

Family mass murders have become a horrifyingly frequent tragedy all over the nation. According to a database created by USA Today, The Associated Press, and Northeastern University, there were 17 of them in 2022. Ten of the shootings were murder-suicides, and 14 were. The database defines a mass murder as the killing of four or more individuals, excluding the attacker.

Tausha Haight’s divorce attorney, James Park, claimed she didn’t express any concern that her husband would physically harm her. Park chose not to go into further detail, citing the ongoing homicide investigation. Tausha Haight, with whom he had only two meetings, the most recent of which was on Tuesday, he claimed, “was an extraordinarily nice person.”

Crime trends in the US from 2010 to 2020
The FBI has released the following breakdown of crimes per 100,000 individuals in the United States:

The bodies were discovered in a residence that was lit up for Christmas and was in a subdivision of recently constructed single-family homes on a ridge overlooking Enoch. It offers a view of residences with distant mountains and roofs coated with snow. Police tape divided the neighboring block in half.

The community is located outside of Cedar City, a formerly rural area that is now being transformed by new subdivisions. At the outskirts of the town, the route is lined with sheep and cattle as well as advertisements for “Custom New Homes” and outdoor activities in southern Utah’s well-known national parks.

On Thursday morning, Cedar City resident Sharon Huntsman visited the area with an arrangement of white flowers. She cried as she supported the bouquet in the snow and said the deaths had gravely shaken Iron County.

She remarked, “It’s simply one big community.” All of us have a single heavenly father.

Michael Haight’s life is chronicled in newspaper archives, starting with a picture of him smiling as a newborn in a celebration of his first birthday. He served on a church mission in Brazil while a Boy Scout.

At a church temple, Haight wed Tausha Earl in 2003. He was raised in Cedar City, but she was from Overton, Nevada, which is roughly two hours south. Haight pursued a career in insurance as an adult.

On Tausha Haight’s Facebook page, there were images of her family posing in front of a sizable statue of Jesus and in beautiful Utah settings.

Tausha’s sister-in-law and Utah State Board of Education member Jennie Earl wrote about the “tough competition” to be the kids’ favorite aunt in a Facebook post featuring Tausha and her kids.

In his letter, Earl prayed that Christ’s love would mend our shattered hearts and fill us with forgiveness and serenity. When The Associated Press contacted her, she chose not to comment.

People from the neighborhood who had come at Enoch City Hall to hear the news conference on Thursday said it had been heartbreaking to have to explain to their own children that some of their friends would not be at school the following day.

Richard Jensen, a city councilman and a father of eight, stated, “We told them last night.” “We gathered them together for a kind of family prayer. We warned them that there was a family in town where everyone had been slaughtered, and it’s likely that children will be missing when they arrive at school tomorrow.”

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