Enoch police, city officials do not intend to review handling of 2020 child abuse investigation

Jan 18, 2023, 10:03 PM | Updated: 10:57 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – Revelations from newly released Enoch Police Department records are sparking sharp reactions among Utahns and questions about whether investigators missed critical red flags ahead of a mass shooting.

Two years before Michael Haight is believed to have killed his family and then himself inside their Enoch home earlier this month, records obtained by the KSL Investigators show local police investigated claims against him of child abuse.

Haight’s wife, Tausha Haight, their five children —Macie, 17; Brilee, 12; twins Sienna and Ammon, 7; and Gavin, 4 — along with his mother-in-law, Gail Earl, were shot and killed on Jan. 4.

Records obtained by the KSL Investigators reveal the eldest daughter, Macie, who was 14 at the time, told police about several incidents in which her father’s anger turned physical, including a time when he grabbed her around the neck and she feared for her life.

“That would be immediate force, making the threat, they don’t even have to impede the breathing,” explained Justin Boardman, a retired Utah detective who is now a law enforcement consultant. “If he grabs her, that fits the statute, to a T, of felony child abuse, aggravated assault.”

Boardman reviewed the records from the 2020 investigation. While acknowledging that we now have the benefit of hindsight, he said parts of the police report are concerning.

“The warning signs of a potential homicide in the future are screaming out on this documentation,” he said.

According to the report, Enoch police consulted prosecutors before closing the case – deciding not to file criminal charges. Since the murders, Utah’s Division of Child and Family Services, which also investigated Macie’s claims of abuse, has initiated a standard internal review of their involvement in the 2020 investigation.

According to a statement released by DCFS spokesperson Sarah Welliver Wednesday, the division’s critical incident review process “involves DCFS regional and state leadership, and any other relevant DCFS staff to go over the current case, case history, any concerns, and discuss if changes in policy and practice are needed.”

“A second review process for fatalities and near fatalities is also done at the department level, and involves community partners in law enforcement, the medical field, and is also added to a yearly review by the Child Welfare Legislative Oversight Panel for any necessary formal recommendations,” Welliver wrote.

She noted a third, independent investigation would be conducted by the Office of the Medical Examiner, which is also involved in the other two review processes.

Through city manager Rob Dotson, police and city officials in Enoch told the KSL Investigators they stand by the handling of the prior abuse investigation, and they have no plans for an internal review of the 2020 case. They are not participating in interviews with local journalists.

“In my opinion, that is not the right call,” Boardman said.

Boardman believes there is always value in looking back and reviewing cases, not only for the officers involved, but for the broader community. “Having a casefile review is very helpful, if it’s not one of pointing fingers and it’s more collaborative,” he said. “So, we are learning from our mistakes, and it’s not in a finger pointing sort of way, it’s very illuminating on the gaps of services, and education, and then we can fill in those gaps.” Based on his review of the records released, Boardman said he would recommend additional training for the department on domestic violence, strangulation, and report writing.

“Sometimes, we don’t know what we don’t know,” he said. “As officers, we’re a jack of all trades. We’re kind of like the Swiss Army knife – We have a bunch of everything. We know a little bit about a lot. – And that’s okay, that’s what we do. But we don’t have significant training in this area.”

In an email to KSL Wednesday, Dotson wrote, “After discussing with our legal counsel and the police chief, they believe the information in the press release and the police reports is sufficient and that case is closed.”

Have you experienced something you think just isn’t right? The KSL Investigators want to help. Submit your tip at investigates@ksl.com or 385-707-6153 so we can get working for you.

KSL 5 TV Live

KSL Investigates

What to do when a business shuts down abruptly but owes you money...

Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage

What to do when a business shuts down abruptly but owes you money

Jeanie Ortiz bought into a subscription plan for her treatments at Innovation Aesthetics. She says the clinic withdrew $139 directly from her bank account every month like clockwork. That was until the place abruptly shut down.

4 days ago

Rachel Montes received a notice on her door demanding $65,000 in mortgage payments that she thought...

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

‘Zombie mortgages’ catching Utahns off guard

Rachel Montes was served a notice on her door demanding $65,000 from a mortgage company when she thought the account had been settled over a decade ago. With the Utah market looking the way it is now, this kind of "zombie mortgage" situation isn't uncommon.

5 days ago

Wheelwright says a replacement windshield on his Tesla costs around $1,200. Lane assist and adaptiv...

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage

Can your insurance company drop you like a rock for too many replacement windshield claims?

Utah drivers encounter all sorts of elements harsh to windshields, which can easily cause chips and cracks. So, imagine your insurance company dropping you because you replace too many windshields. When it happened to a Utah man, he decided to Get Gephart.

6 days ago

Influencers influence on men...

Matt Gephardt

Influencers are influencing men the most to spend on beauty products and supplies

The marketing world has been taken over by influencers. Companies pay them to post about their products on social media – sometimes handsomely.

10 days ago

Student loan confusion...

Matt Gephardt

Frustrated student-loan borrowers brace for payments to resume, but they have repayment options

People with student debt have spent the last several years in a political tug-of-war so it's hard to figure out what is and isn't happening. KSL Investigates hopes to answer those questions.

11 days ago

Holly Duke teaches all-day kindergarten at West Kearns Elementary....

Deanie Wimmer

High stakes of kindergarten readiness; what Utah schools are doing to improve student performance

Ready for kindergarten used to mean a child turned five by the cutoff date. But as the stakes and expectations get higher, teachers are encountering some surprising behaviors.

13 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Design mockup half in white and half in color of luxury house interior with open plan living room a...

Lighting Design

Lighting Design 101: Learn the Basics

These lighting design basics will help you when designing your home, so you can meet both practical and aesthetic needs.

an antler with large horns int he wilderness...

Three Bear Lodge

Yellowstone in the Fall: A Wildlife Spectacle Worth Witnessing

While most people travel to this park in the summer, late fall in Yellowstone provides a wealth of highlights to make a memorable experience.

a diverse group of students raising their hands in a classroom...

Little Orchard Preschool

6 Benefits of Preschool for Kids

Some of the benefits of preschool for kids include developing independence, curiosity, and learning more about the world.

rodeo contestant on a saddle bronc...


Get Ready for the Days of ‘47 Rodeo!

The Days of '47 Rodeo is a series of events everyone in the family can enjoy, with world-class rodeo contestants vying for the gold medal.

Electric LED Lightbulb Change In Light At Home...

Lighting Design

How to Know When to Upgrade Your Lighting

This guide explores indicators that suggest it’s time for a lighting upgrade with tips to make an informed decision when you’re ready to buy. 

Brunette guy in headphones playing games on his desktop computer...

PC Laptops

Looking For a New Computer? Use This Desktop Buying Guide

Choosing a new desktop computer can come with a lot of questions, so we created this desktop buying guide.

Enoch police, city officials do not intend to review handling of 2020 child abuse investigation