Despite being under investigation for child abuse two years prior, local police and prosecutors decided not to file charges against a Utah man who, according to police, fatally shot his wife, her mother, and their five children before shooting himself, according to new records made available Tuesday.
The Associated Press was able to put light on warning flags and a previous police inquiry into a violent pattern of behaviour Michael Haight displayed toward his family according to police records they were able to get.
Following the killings on January 4 in the small town of Enoch, authorities held a press conference but declined to provide further details, citing an ongoing investigation.
The family’s eldest daughter, Macie Haight, described several attacks in a 2020 interview with police, including one in which her father choked her and she was “extremely terrified that he was going to keep her from breathing and kill her.”
A non-family member called the police on August 27, 2020, citing possible child abuse, prompting the child abuse inquiry. When Macie was 14 years old, she informed police that her father had began hitting her and shaking her since 2017. She also described a recent event in which he grabbed her by the shoulders and threw her against a wooden piece running the length of the couch.
Police discovered Macie’s body together with eight other bodies at the family’s residence two years later. The murder-suicide shook the community of Enoch, a village of 8,000 people in southern Utah on the outskirts of Cedar City, where local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints members and neighbours remembered the Haights as a lovely family.
Michael Haight was praised as an Eagle Scout, businessman, and parent who “made it a point to spend meaningful time with each and every one of his children” in his obituary that was published in the St. George Spectrum last week. The obituary was removed off the internet after protest and omitted any reference of the murders.
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