What we know about the family killed in Enoch murder-suicide
Jan 5, 2023, 8:47 PM | Updated: Jan 6, 2023, 12:34 am
ENOCH, Utah — As a small southern Utah town searches for answers, after an entire family was found dead in their home, investigators are giving more context as to what may have been unfolding inside the home leading up to the act of violence that has shaken the entire community.
A memorial began to grow in front of crime scene tape that surrounded the Haight family home in Enoch Thursday afternoon, as parents and children brought flowers and stuffed animals in honor of Tausha Haight, her mother Gail Earl, and Tausha’s five children– identified by family and friends as Macie (17), Briley (12), twins Ammon and Sienna (7), and Gavin (4).
Those who walked up appeared sad and in disbelief, some taking a moment to take in the scene.
“It’s not too often something like this hits very close to home,” said Enoch City Mayor Geoffrey Chestnut, during an emotional press conference Thursday. He began to get choked up as he spoke, and with watery eyes said, “In fact, the Haights were my neighbors. The youngest children played in my yard with my sons.” He paused and looked down, taking a breath. “Enoch City is a very close community,” he continued.
Just a day prior, police visited the home as part of a welfare check for Tausha and Michael Haight, after receiving separate reports that each person was missing.
“Someone with whom Tausha had an appointment yesterday morning called and reported that she had missed the appointment and requested law enforcement to conduct a welfare check,” said Rob Dotson, City Manager of Enoch City. “A few hours after that welfare check call came in and Tausha was not located, a missing person’s report was requested and was received by Cedar City Police Department due to Michael’s office location in Cedar City.”
Dotson said once police figured out Michael lived in Enoch, they passed the missing person’s report to Enoch City. Dispatch also received information that Tausha filed for divorce two weeks ago.
“The welfare check to locate Tausha became an effort to find the entire family,” he said.
Officers would walk into the home and discover Tausha, her mother, all five children and Michael dead from gunshot wounds. They believe Michael shot and killed everyone, before dying by suicide.
Mayor Chestnut said Gail had been staying with the family to help her daughter out and provide support during the difficulties they were encountering. He said Tausha filed for divorce December 21.
Allstate Insurance, where Michael was an agent, confirmed to KSL TV that he was no longer employed with them when the shootings took place. It’s unclear how long ago he left Allstate, and the circumstances surrounding his departure from his job.
By all outside appearances to most neighbors and friends who have spoken to KSL TV, the Haight family was happy and very active in their local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ward.
Neighbors talked about the family hosting a ‘walk-about’ last summer to get the neighborhood together. They spoke about how welcoming the Haights were, being the first to introduce themselves when new people moved in on their street.
The night before police believe Michael killed his family, Mayor Chestnut spoke about how family members had been in touch with them.
“The daughter and the mother were at a church activity the night before,” he said.
An entire family murdered — believed by father and husband Michael Haight. Enoch City says he shot and killed wife Tausha, her mom Gail Earl, and their kids 17 year old girl, 12 year old girl, 7 (boy and girl twins), and 4 year old boy. Awful for this small community. @KSL5TV pic.twitter.com/yHMjNRGqKW
— Lauren Steinbrecher (@LaurenSnews) January 5, 2023
However, Enoch City Police Chief Jackson Ames said law enforcement was familiar with the family, because of responding to their home in the past.
“We had been involved in some investigations with the family a couple years prior,” Chief Ames said, during Thursday’s press conference.
He wouldn’t elaborate on what the investigation was about, or its outcome. Even beyond that, Dotson spoke about how the officers who responded and discovered the bodies personally knew the family, just as others including Mayor Chestnut did.
“This is emotion that you see. So, really what we’re inviting the public to do… is if you are a praying person, to pray for law enforcement. It impacts them. Pray for the family,” Dotson said.
He and Mayor Chestnut explained that a mobile crisis team responded to provide mental health services to law enforcement, as well as anyone in the community who needs it.
“This is a tremendous blow to many, many families who have spent many, many nights with these individuals who are now gone,” Mayor Chestnut said.
Dotson talked about how hard it is to understand why this happened, that there’s a lot they may never know.
“But we do know they were our friends, they were our neighbors,” Dotson said. “And that we love them.”