LOCAL NEWS

Obituary praising Utah man who shot 7 family members removed after backlash

Jan 18, 2023, 6:28 PM
(Matt Rascon/KSL TV)...
(Matt Rascon/KSL TV)
(Matt Rascon/KSL TV)

ENOCH, Utah — The laudatory obituary of the Utah father accused of killing seven members of his family has been removed from online newspapers and funeral pages after sharp criticism.

Michael Orwin Haight, 42, is believed to have killed his wife, her mother and his five children in his Enoch home before taking his own life. The Cedar City newspaper, The Spectrum, carried the obit online, drawing ire from the public. It was also posted as a web page by Southern Utah Mortuary in Cedar City, Utah.

“Michael excelled at everything he did,” it read while lauding his achievements in education, business, leadership and service.

The obituary didn’t mention the other deaths at all but praised Michael Haight and his relationship with those whom police say he killed by shooting them. He was depicted as a good citizen, church member and Eagle Scout.

The obit also portrayed him as a loving family man and said he “enjoyed making memories with the family” and viewed each of his children as “a cherished miracle.”

Police reports released Tuesday showed that Michael Haight had a history of violence with his family.

The obit went viral days after the killings made national news, creating outrage online for praising the suspected murderer without mentioning the ending of eight total lives. Police say he shot and killed his estranged wife Tausha Haight, 40, their three daughters aged 7, 12 and 17 and their two sons, 4 and 7, and Tausha Haight’s mother, Gail Earl, 78.

The Gannett-owned Cedar City newspaper,  perhaps the most visible online publication to carry the obit, said it received it from a funeral home in a statement:

“The Spectrum removed the obituary due to the circumstances and sincerely regrets any distress this may have caused.”

A woman answering phones at Southern Utah Mortuary confirmed to NBC that the funeral home handled services for Michael Haight but didn’t disclose what involvement the business had in writing the obit. Typically family members supply obituaries to funeral homes.

Michael Haight still has an “In Remembrance of” page at Mortuary.org that lists his Jan. 7, 1980 birthdate and Jan. 4, 2023 death date with a photo.

Michael Haight’s funeral was held privately, while his victims were buried on Jan. 13 in a church in La Verkin, Utah, where Tausha Haight grew up. Approximatelly 800 people attended, while a private stream of the services was also provided for others.

A Twitter account, belonging to Shannon Watts, highlighted the obituary and called it “gross.” It has a thread of tweets, the first of which has 13.1 million likes as of Thursday. She told NBC she was stunned to read the praise for Haight in the obituary.

“I was shocked that this man’s obituary had a picture of him and said complimentary things about him and did not mention that his survivors did not include his wife and children — because he killed them,” Watts told NBC.


Domestic violence resources

In an emergency, call 911.

If you or someone you know is going through abuse, help is available.

  • Utah Domestic Violence Coalition operates a confidential statewide, 24-hour domestic abuse hotline at 1-800-897-LINK (5465).
  • Resources are also available online at the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition website.

There are several ways the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition can help people. Previous examples include providing financial assistance for funerals, for moving, for a variety of things, counseling that help people find a different path or stay healthy and safe and the relationship they’re in.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Students at Juan Diego Catholic School (KSL-TV)...
Michael Locklear

Private schools celebrate state funding, expect ‘significant uptick in enrollment’

Utah’s private schools are celebrating that they’ll receive state funding for the first time through a new school choice program.
1 day ago
FILE PHOTO (KSL TV)...
Michael Houck

Passenger dead after attempting to move crashed truck on SR-89

A passenger was fatally hit by a trailer after a car crashed into it Friday night, according to Utah Highway Patrol
1 day ago
One the of climbers in the training camp climbing a wall. (KSL-TV's Alex Cabrero)...
Alex Cabrero

USA Climbing Camp for Paris 2024 begins in Salt Lake City

As the Summer 2024 Olympic Games draws closer, those athletes looking to participate begin their training. 
1 day ago
The large herd of about 60 elk near the mouth of Parley's Canyon on Thursday. (Utah Department of W...
Michael Houck

DWR officials warn of migrating elk entering Salt Lake City

A migrating herd of approximately 60 elk is causing problems for residents and drivers near the mouth of Parley's Canyon.
1 day ago
Former longtime Murray Mayor Dan Snarr is photographed on Dec. 13, 2013. Snarr, 73, was charged Thu...
Pat Reavy

Former Murray mayor accused of spitting in driver’s face in road rage case

The former longtime mayor of Murray has been charged with spitting in the face of another driver during a road rage incident.
1 day ago
Handcuffs in a jail cell FILE PHOTO (Ravell Call/Deseret News)...
Pat Reavy

Sandy man threatened to kill parents after shooting TVs, police say

A Sandy man was charged Friday with shooting two televisions and threatening to kill his parents and go on a killing spree.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t Let a Ransomware Attack Get You Down | Protect Your Workplace Today with Cyber Insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Obituary praising Utah man who shot 7 family members removed after backlash