Police report from slain Enoch family details allegations of abuse, controlling behavior
Murdered mother said she didn’t want to press charges, but had ‘hopes that this case will be a wake-up call for Michael’
In the summer of 2020, police responded to a home on Albert Drive in Enoch, Utah, to investigate allegations of child abuse.
Two years later, on Jan. 4, the home turned into a crime scene after police say 42-year-old Michael Haight murdered his wife, Tausha Haight; her mother, Gail Earl; and the couple’s five children, before turning the gun on himself.
No criminal charges were filed against Michael Haight in the past, but on Aug. 27, 2020, police responded to the Haights’ home after allegations that Michael assaulted Macie, the couple’s oldest daughter, over several years. The allegations also included “a lot of yelling and emotional abuse.”
The Utah Division of Child and Family Services was already aware of the case, the report states, and the officer responded alongside a division official.
During an emotional press conference just hours after the family’s names were released on Jan. 5, Enoch Police Chief Jackson Ames said the department had investigated the family a couple years ago, and said officers “were familiar with the family.”
On Tuesday, the Deseret News obtained copies of several police reports after a public records inquiry into the family’s past interactions with law enforcement. The records point to a pattern of violent and controlling tendencies from Haight.
In the report, Macie details three instances of alleged physical abuse from her father. She also claims Michael would talk about “how stupid and lazy Tausha is” and would take Tausha’s phone in an attempt to “keep her from leaving the house.”
“She stated that there have been several times over the last few years that her father, Michael, has become assaultive with her,” reads the report, where Macie, at the time likely 14 or 15 years old, tells police the first instance of abuse came about three years prior in the family’s piano room.
“Her father became angry at her and grabbed her by the shoulders. He shook her and her head banged into the wooden piece along the back of the couch,” the report reads. “She stated that she was terrified that he was going to hurt her. She stated that she did not suffer any injury from this event. She was mostly scared.”
In another instance roughly two years before the 2020 report, Haight allegedly grabbed his daughter “around the neck and choked her” while they were in the pantry area of the family’s kitchen, the report says.
“She stated that she was very afraid that he was going to keep her from breathing and kill her,” the officer’s report reads. “I asked her if she actually lost her breath. She stated that she did not. She stated that he did not choke her.”
The third instance, which according to the report occurred in the summer of 2020, happened in the family’s garage after they had returned home from a camping trip.
“(Macie) stated that her father became angry with her and had grabbed her by the shoulders and shook her. She stated that she did not sustain any injury,” the report reads.
Michael Haight, when questioned by police, denied grabbing his daughter in an assaultive manner, shaking her by the shoulders or grabbing her neck. He also said he never belittled his wife.
He did tell police “that he does lose his temper and yell at the kids.”
“Later he stated that if he had indeed done these things it was not meant to be an assault. He stated that Macie is mouthy and he gets angry at her,” the report reads.
In the interview, Haight told the officer he’d had a “tough year” with his father’s death and his brother in the midst of a divorce. He believed Tausha and his soon to be ex-sister-in-law had “been talking and saying mean things about his mother and sister.”
That was Michael’s reasoning behind taking Tausha’s phone, he told police. He also admitted to taking her iPad to work with him for “several days to look at her texts and messages.”
When his wife asked, repeatedly, about the iPad, Haight denied taking it — eventually, he “slipped it back where it would be found at the house.”
“I advised Michael that his behavior was very close to assaultive,” the officer writes in the supplemental report. “I advised him that I did not intend to charge him with any crime at this time. I talked to him about the importance of Macie continuing to speak with a therapist. I asked him to not interfere with that. I also advised him that he should continue seeing someone about his anger. I advised him that I would much rather be having this conversation with him instead of taking him to jail.”
In a follow-up interview, the officer told Tausha Haight to call police if she had any issues.
“Tausha indicated that she is in hopes that this case will be a wake-up call for Michael. She stated that she does not believe that criminal charges will be appropriate at this point,” the report reads.
Tausha Haight would later file for divorce in December 2022, according to court records, roughly two weeks before she was murdered alongside her mother and the couple’s five children — 4-year-old Gavin, 7-year-old twins Sienna and Ammon, 12-year-old Brilee, and 17-year-old Macie.
Police discovered the family’s bodies on the afternoon of Jan. 4 in their house on Albert Drive in Enoch, a small Iron County suburb about 250 miles south of Salt Lake City.
One of Tausha Haight’s siblings took to Facebook, saying the family’s “guns were removed by him before the shooting. Which ultimately left my sister and my mother vulnerable to his actions without any means to protect the children or themselves.”
In a statement, the Utah Division of Child and Family Services said it could not provide additional detail surrounding the 2020 case beyond what’s in the Enoch police report.
“Our work brings us into the lives of children and families who have experienced trauma. Our thoughts are with the surviving loved ones of this family, the Enoch community, and the first responders involved in this tragic loss,” the statement reads.