When the wife filed for divorce on December 21, she urged caseworkers to wait to interview her spouse. He was never interviewed.
Trigger Warning: The following article contains descriptions of child abuse, gun violence, and death by suicide which readers may find distressing.
In a report released on April 7, investigators stated that a Utah man who shot and killed his wife, her mother, and the couple's five children after being investigated for child abuse wrote in his suicide note that he "would rather rot in hell" than have to put up with his wife's allegedly controlling behavior. The allegations in 42-year-old Michael Haight's suicide letter are in sharp contrast to the investigators' findings in their 57-page report, which primarily paints Haight—and not his wife—as being violent and in charge. The study refers to family conversations before the deaths and community member interviews conducted following the January tragedy.
After killing his entire family, the Utah father wrote a suicide note describing himself as an honorable man and placing blame on his wife for their family problems. He then killed himself. https://t.co/HCHClcbyqu— East Idaho News (@EastIDNews) April 8, 2023
The Deseret News obtained nearly 50 pages of records from the Utah Division of Child and Family Services after a public records request that was originally denied. The records, some of which are heavily redacted, detail several years of investigations and interactions with the Haight family. Based on the maltreatment of the couple's eldest daughter that occurred previously, the agency had launched the inquiry 11 days before the incident against the man, per AP News. Days before their visit, Haight was accused of allegedly tossing his 7-year-old kid to the ground after becoming irate with him.
According to AP, the report states that his wife, Tausha Haight, expressed worry to a caseworker about the unacceptable mannerisms of her husband and "how he looks when he is angry." When she filed for divorce on December 21, she urged caseworkers to wait to interview her spouse. Her spouse allegedly threatened to kill himself or "make her life hell" if she left him, she said to caseworkers. Michael Haight was never questioned by caseworkers.
Miranda Fisher, a spokesman for the Department of Child and Family Services, said in a statement to the Deseret News that they were not awaiting the wife's consent to do the interview but rather assessing the next steps in the investigation. The agency's summary report stated that "unfortunately this tragic incident occurred before further intervention." According to ABC7 News, the report relies on papers that were made public following the murder-suicide and described how Haight looked online for a "gunshot in a house" before the shootings, removed firearms from the residence, and was under investigation for possible child abuse.
It depicts Haight as an erratic spouse who was anxious about upholding a façade of perfection in the neighborhood in southern Utah where the family resided, where most locals belonged to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The report also describes how, in all but one of his children's bedrooms across the house, linen was placed over their bodies. The report's body camera footage, which was also made public, reveals a clean house. Investigators spoke with a neighbor who claimed to have been woken by some noise. When she heard many 'bangs' the night before the eight victims were found, she thought they were fireworks.
If you are experiencing suicidal, substance use, or other mental health crises please call or text the new three-digit code at 988. You will reach a trained crisis counselor for free, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also go to 988lifeline.org or dial the current toll-free number 800-273-8255 [TALK].
Cover Image Source: Facebook | Tausha Haight