ENOCH, Utah (ABC4) — Below is a timeline of events, including new information from an investigative report, on what led up to and proceeded the alleged murder-suicide in Enoch.
In January of 2023, Michael Haight, 42, allegedly killed his wife, Tausha Haight, 40; her mother, Gail Earl, 78; and their five children, Macie, 17; Briley, 12; Sienna, 7; Ammon, 7; and Gavin, 4. Investigators said Haight likely killed himself after killing the others.
Timeline of Events
2003: Haight married Tausha Earl at a temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She was from Overton, Nevada, approximately two hours south of Cedar City, where he grew up, AP News reported. Haight worked as an insurance agent, most recently with Allstate. The investigative report said they had strong religious beliefs and were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They attended their church meetings on a consistent basis, the kids were involved in sports and school, and the family had many friends in the community.
August 27, 2020: Haight faced an investigation into the possible abuse of one of his daughters, according to Enoch City Police. However, the case was closed, and criminal charges were deemed “not appropriate.”
According to a statement from District Attorney Chad Dotson, his office did not charge Haight in 2020 because “there was insufficient evidence to pursue criminal charges,” based on “an inability to prove each element of the case beyond a reasonable doubt and/or statute of limitations barriers.” However, Dotson also stated no interviews or police reports from the investigation were ever sent to his office for “formal screening of charges.”
Summer of 2022: Haight’s daughter was reportedly having suicidal ideations because of the way Haight was treating her. Tausha was reportedly hesitant to let their daughter go to an out-of-town church activity because she was worried about her health. However, their daughter ended up going and came home feeling better, she reported.
A witness said Tausha had been in therapy steadily since the 2020 allegations, and that her mental health had improved significantly. Haight would allegedly attend therapy when he was losing control, but just long enough to placate Tausha, and then quit. Tausha told the witness she went and got her fingernails done, and was really proud she had the courage to do that. Afterward, Haight was angry and asked how much money he was going to have to pay for that. She reportedly told him $25 a month, and he said he would take food away from the children. Tausha allegedly told him to just sell more insurance.
Tausha also began to lose a significant amount of weight, and it upset Haight, who began accusing her of having an affair. She told him she was losing weight for herself and that she was not having an affair. Haight reportedly told her to stop losing weight and that she looked fine.
According to a witness, Tausha told Haight the kitchen table was getting worn out, and wanted to get a new table. But Haight reportedly told her it was her fault because she didn’t control the children. Tausha decided to re-finish the table on her own, bought the materials, and re-finished it in one day. According to the witness, Haight got mad at Tausha because he had not given her permission to do so. Tausha invited the witness over and told the witness she was proud of herself for doing it. The witness said this was another example of Tausha gaining her independence, and that starting at this time, Haight seemed more desperate to keep control of the narrative the family was sharing.
September 2022: Tausha told a witness she and Haight were separating and she had gotten him to move in with his mother for a while. Haight was reportedly required to get counseling and agree to help take care of the children if he were to be allowed to come back home, and he agreed. Tausha reportedly said when Haight moved back in, the relationship was much better for a little while, but that “without [him] here, my house is a dream. Everything is so smooth.”
December 8, 2022: Haight’s daughter spoke with a caseworker at school about allegations against Haight that occurred in 2020, and the caseworker said there were no new accusations. He told police he was going to follow up with Tausha on January 5, but never had the chance.
December 12-29, 2022: A witness provided screenshots of text conversations a daughter had concerning Haight’s Behavior. The daughter talked about Haight “stealing guns from the home and money from his children’s accounts,” and that she “hates” him. The daughter also indicated she just needs to have someone to make sure she is safe.
Week of December 18-24, 2022: At some point during this week, a client of Haight’s attempted to contact him, but was redirected to a corporate call center. After asking for Haight, they reportedly informed the client that Haight was no longer an affiliate of Allstate.
A witness informed police that they had done business with Haight, but when they went to purchase new car insurance, they were advised he was no longer an agent with Allstate. The witness reportedly called Haight to see what the situation was, and was told he was going to be an independent agent.
Another witness told police that Haight disclosed to them that he had been terminated from Allstate with cause. Haight told them he gave his notice to leave, and was supposed to receive his year-end bonus, but that Allstate decided to terminate him because of improprieties in his books. Haight said this was a way that Allstate did not have to pay his bonus.
However, a witness explained to police that if an agent were terminated for cause, it would in effect “end a career as an insurance agent.” They indicated that Haight had enough assets to retire and collect several hundred thousand dollars a year for life, but he rejected this option, worried about what it would look like to people on the outside.
“[Haight] was very worried about his appearance in every way. He would do nothing to portray anything but a perfect life both personally and professionally.”
Another witness indicated that Haight’s conversations with them about Allstate’s termination put up red flags for them, and would be a very unlikely scenario.
December 21, 2022: Tausha filed for divorce from Haight. Her attorney said he was asked to wait until after Christmas to have Haight served the papers.
Before Christmas: Tausha was allegedly given an allowance of $100 per child for Christmas gifts and was proud of herself for providing a good Christmas for the kids on that budget. However, Haight did not provide any gifts for the family, and a witness said Tausha was irritated with the situation because she knew they had money due to a sizeable check from Allstate just prior to Christmas.
December 27, 2022: Haight was served the divorce papers at his Allstate office.
Tausha spoke with the friend the day Haight was served with divorce papers and said his reaction was “bizarre.” Haight allegedly called Tausha after he was served divorce papers and asked, “How’s your day going?” Tausha then reportedly asked if he had been served divorce papers, and he said he had been given some papers, and assumed they were divorce papers. Haight then told Tausha she needed to leave the house before he got home and to not take the children as they needed to be left with him.
Tausha had arranged for the kids to be at a neighbor’s house because she feared for their safety if Haight came home. Tausha took the children, left the home, and went to stay at her mother’s house in LaVerkin for the weekend.
December 30-31: While they were staying at her mother’s house, Tausha told the witness Haight kept showing up at Gail’s unannounced and tried to get Tausha to leave with him and “go for a drive.” Tausha told the witness she had a terrible feeling and felt like she shouldn’t go anywhere alone with him, so she would shut the door and tell him to leave.
Haight stayed in the home despite his attorneys recommendation that he move out. The investigative report said it appeared he was sleeping in the workout room in the basement in a sleeping bag. It was also reported that Gail was likely staying with them in the home due to safety concerns that Tausha had with Haight being in the home.
December 30, 2022: Haight searched gun-related questions on Google. The searches include: How loud is a 9mm? How loud is a 40mm? What does a gunshot sound like? How loud is a gunshot in a house? Would a neighbor hear a gunshot in the garage? Can you hear a gunshot from inside a neighbor’s house? He also reviewed the following page on Quora several times.
“If you heard a single gunshot in your neighborhood at night, would you immediately recognize it as such, would you, either way, be alerted enough to call the police, or would you chalk it up to being just another sound in the night?-Quora,” according to Haight’s search history.
December 31, 2022: Tausha and the kids came home that night. One daughter spoke with a witness at a youth dance she attended, and told her, “Dad’s being a jerk again. My mom finally filed for divorce, and I couldn’t be more excited — he needs to go.” She allegedly also said, “My dad keeps love-bombing me. He will not leave the house. I just want him to go.”
January 1, 2023: The entire family attended church on Sunday. Tausha would not let Haight sit with her or the kids, so he sat several rows back. According to witnesses, Haight was angry because his public image was going to be questioned for not sitting with his family.
January 2, 2023: Tausha reported to her attorney that firearms were removed from the home.
January 3, 2023: All of the Haight children attended school, and Tausha was seen during the day picking kids up, and that night at a church activity, the report stated. Gail was heard on a video recording of that evening, obtained from Haight’s cell phone.
Tausha reportedly met with her divorce attorney to discuss financial issues. The attorney said she “was an incredibly nice lady. Tausha told [him] that while Haight would sometimes yell at her and the children, he would never physically harm any of them.” She also told him that Haight had taken all the firearms out of the home and that he recently sold his “Allstate Insurance” company for a large amount of money.
One daughter reportedly told a witness that she was happy her mom and dad were getting divorced. She stated that her dad was asked to move out, but refused, even though his attorney reportedly told him to move out. A daughter told the witness that her dad took several guns from the home, and was told to bring them back. She also told them that she bought some new books, that her dad would be upset if he knew, and that she was going to start attending therapy on Tuesdays.
9 p.m.: Haight records a video on his phone with him asking Tausha to work things out. During the conversation, he stated, “I feel like you’re backing me into a corner.”
9:28 p.m.: A person texted Haight asking him if he needs anything, Haight said, “I’ve got my hands full right now.”
9:43 p.m.: Haight texted Tausha, asking her to talk. She does not respond.
3:30 a.m.: A neighbor reported she was awakened when she heard multiple “bangs” that she assumed were fireworks. She said she was irritated because the time and date were past legal fireworks being allowed for New Year’s.
January 4, 2023: Officers were sent to check on the Enoch family after someone contacted the police, worried that Tausha had missed an online appointment, and was not answering her calls. Haight did not show up for any of his meetings either.
11:02 a.m.: The officers left the home without entering. “No one answered the door. It didn’t appear that anyone was in the home since no noise could be heard,” an Enoch Police officer wrote in a report.
1:50 p.m.: A welfare check was requested again. It is reported that Haight has been acting strange for a couple of weeks.
2 p.m.: The officers return to the residence in another attempt to check the welfare. The house was secure and nothing was visible through the windows.
2 p.m.-3:30 p.m.: The officers contacted Iron County School District to check if any of the children were at school. A person at Canyon View Middle School, where Briley attended, said she was absent, and it was unexcused. They were unable to get in contact with any of the other schools at that point.
Around the same time, Cedar City Police reported Haight as a missing person. He had not shown up for work, missed several appointments, and left some “personal” documents on his desk, which was reported as very unusual.
3:50 p.m.: A person police described as a “family friend” entered through an open door, after hearing that no one could contact any of them. They saw a body on the bed with blood, backed out of the house, and called the police.
4:01 p.m.: Enoch officers arrived and determined that there were deceased bodies in the residence, and made sure there was no perpetrator left in the home.
The officers got a search warrant and began their search of the home. They described the rooms of the home, and where the victims were found. They said upon entering the home, they saw several photos of the Haight family which helped them in identification. Each deceased family member was described as appearing to have gunshot wounds.
Gavin Haight, Tausha Haight, and Gail Earl were located deceased in the master bedroom, located on the main level. The rest of the family was found deceased in their respective bedrooms.
Michael Haight, the alleged murderer, was located on the basement floor in their exercise room on top of a sleeping bag with a reportedly self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head.
January 4, 2023: Enoch City Manager Rob Dotson said the community was sent reeling by news of the eight bodies, and that the deceased — all members of one family — were well-known in the town.
“Many of us have served with them in church, in the community and gone to school with these individuals,” Dotson said Wednesday night. “This community at this time is hurting. They’re feeling loss, they’re feeling pain and they have a lot of questions.”
“We all can pray that their families and the neighbors and all will come to an understanding of what happened in this place, probably in a day or two, or maybe longer,” he said.
January 4, 2023: Liason for the Iron County School District Richard Jenson posted to the Iron County Schools Parents Group, stating that the five children found dead attended schools in his district.
“This loss is sure to raise many emotions, concerns, and questions for our entire school district, especially our students,” Jenson wrote. “Our district has a Crisis Intervention Team made up of professionals trained to help with the needs of students, parents, and school personnel during difficult times such as this.”
January 4, 2023: Governor Spencer Cox tweeted the following: “Our hearts go out to all those affected by this senseless violence. Please keep the community of Enoch in your prayers.”
January 5, 2023: Enoch City sent a press release containing the names of the victims, and stated that evidence suggested Haight took his own life after killing seven others in the home.
President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden released this statement: “Too many Americans have lost loved ones or had their lives forever changed due to gun violence, and gun violence remains the leading cause of death for children in America,” the statement read. “Less than one month after we marked 10 years since the Sandy Hook tragedy, another mass shooting has claimed the lives of five more children in Enoch City.”
Community members gathered to mourn and sing hymns at a private vigil held at a church up the street from the home where the Haights were found. Many residents served in church callings alongside members of the Haight family, or went to school with the children, city officials said.
Additional Information, No Specified Time Frame:
A witness told police that they believed the abuse in the Haight family had been escalating for three years, and said they encouraged Tausha to leave the situation.
Tausha confided in a witness a great deal and had disclosed many times that Haight was very mean. Tausha allegedly told her Haight was very concerned about keeping up his appearance socially, personally, and professionally, but had been mean to her for a long time. Tausha told them the abuse began to extend to the children more frequently, and this was the reason she finally filed for divorce.
Tausha reportedly told another witness that each of the children had approximately $20,000 in savings accounts, but Haight had moved the money from those accounts. She also allegedly told them that the firearms they had in their home, inherited from Tausha’s father, were taken from the house on January 2 or 3.
A daughter’s friend contacted Cedar City Police Department with information about the Haight family’s home life. She stated that her Haight’s daughter informed her she had a “secret phone” hidden in her room and would record her dad when he would “act crazy,” as evidence for her parent’s divorce. Haight’s daughter allegedly told her friend that her mom had found the phone and taken it away. She also reportedly told her friend she was very excited about the divorce, so she didn’t have to spend as much time with her dad.
A friend of Tausha’s told police that she was informed that Tausha often said she was blamed for anything that might not have been perfect in the marriage or family. The friend also said when she went to Tausha’s house to visit, they wouldn’t speak inside as Tausha believed she was possibly being monitored. Tausha also reportedly would always respond in short positive messages to her friend, in the event Haight was monitoring her messages.
A witness said that Haight was controlling in every way with Tausha. He was reported to have taken her phone and keys to the car and house at times to prevent her from leaving. There was a particular incident where Haight was reportedly angry with Tausha because she was given a $300 limit to spend, and spent $300 at Walmart and $30 to replace a rug that was ruined. Haight allegedly became angry because she should have included the rug purchase within the Walmart purchase and gone without something else.
Tausha reportedly informed a friend that she was given a small allowance and had been putting aside money in it for a long time to move forward with the divorce. Her friend also said that one time she was visiting their house, and she, Tausha, and the little kids were sitting in the piano room. Haight came in and gathered the little kids, saying it was time to have family prayer with him. Later, Tausha told her friend this was the first time he had ever done this, and it was just an act.
A witness came forward, stating she and Tausha had been friends for many years. She said she lived near the Haights when they were fairly newly married, and Tausha would often go to her house and ask if situations in her marriage were normal. For example, the friend said Tausha told her Haight would make her wash out plastic bags and re-use them, and cut baby wipes and cleaning wipes in half. She said if he caught her doing anything different, she was in a lot of trouble. She compared Tausha to a frog in boiling water. She stated that the tension in their home would slowly build until Tausha didn’t realize she was in trouble. She said Tausha often told her she made a commitment to her marriage and family and wanted to honor that commitment.
According to a witness, Haight expected one daughter to earn straight A’s in school, and she would often bring her homework to church activities because it was easier to get the A’s and avoid abuse than to enjoy the activities. Tausha also told the witness that their daughter was depressed and lying on the couch with her head on Tausha’s lap when Haight came in and ordered her to get up and go clean her room. Tausha told him to leave them alone. Their daughter allegedly said, “He looked at me like he hates me. His eyes looked pure evil.”
She said she would often go to the house and help Tausha wash dishes and clean so Haight wouldn’t have anything to yell at her for when he got home from work. Tausha told the witness she was worried there might be listening devices in the house, so when they talked, they would turn the water on and speak in low voices.
A witness said Tausha confided in her about the following incident: Several months prior to the tragedy, the family was reportedly sitting in the living room, and Tausha was reading from the scriptures after church on Sunday. One daughter was playing with a charging cable, and Haight told her to stop, but she didn’t. Haight reportedly stood up and started yelling at Tausha, saying they had the worst kids in the world. He said they were disrespectful and awful kids and it was Tausha’s fault. He reportedly told Tausha she was fat and ugly and a terrible mother. Tausha told the witness she realized none of the kids even flinched or responded, and said at that moment, she made up her mind she was going to prepare an exit strategy and go through with the divorce.
The Haights reportedly recently purchased a GMC Yukon, and Haight said he was going to put the vehicle in storage and only allow Tausha to drive it once she had proven she deserved it, a witness said.
The report stated that Haight’s phone showed he and Tausha had been struggling with their relationship for at least two years, possibly longer. Divorce came up several times by Tausha in videos that had been recorded by Michael. The report stated that it seemed that whenever the couple started to struggle, Haight would do things such as record videos of his interactions with Tausha and the kids, Tausha’s interactions with the kids, and take pictures of rooms and items throughout the home. The final video recorded was their conversation on January 3, at 9 p.m., where Tausha essentially told Haight “No” when he asked to work it out.