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Family of southern Utah father who killed 7 family members says they are devastated

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The parents of an Enoch man who police say shot and killed seven members of his family before taking his own life released a statement on Friday expressing condolences and heartbreak.

Family photo

The family of Michael Haight says they are "absolutely devastated and completely heartbroken by the tragic loss" of Haight, his wife, his mother-in-law and the Haight's five children.

"We express our most sincere and heartfelt condolences to the entire Earl family along with the many families, friends and neighbors whose lives have been impacted by these eight incredible human beings," the family said.

Michael Haight, 42, is believed to have shot and killed his wife, Tausha Haight, 40; Haight's mother-in-law, 78-year-old Gail Earl; and Haight's children — three daughters ages 17, 12, and 7 and two sons, ages 7 and 4 — inside their Enoch home before taking his own life.

All eight bodies were found in their home Wednesday at 4923 N. Albert Drive after police were asked by concerned family and friends to conduct a welfare check. The killings came two weeks after Tausha Haight had filed for a divorce.

On Friday, both the families of Michael and Tausha Haight released statements. The statement from Tausha's family, whose maiden name is Earl, is signed by "the Boyd and Gail Earl family."

"As we try to make sense of this unthinkable tragedy we wish to express our gratitude for the outpouring of prayers, love, kindness and support. It is during times like these that our thoughts are drawn toward a loving and all knowing God who created a beautiful plan of salvation that extends far beyond the mortal loss of those most precious to us. The hurt and humility felt through these experiences only serves to draw us closer to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and to express our overwhelming gratitude for his infinite, beautiful and powerful atonement. We invite all to seek the peace that can only be found through Him," the Earls said.

The family expressed their appreciation to the residents of Enoch and all of the first responders who have been part of the investigation, and also encouraged anyone still struggling "with this insensible loss" to "find the strength to reach out for appropriate help."

The statement released by Michael Haight's family is signed by "the Robin and Brenda Haight family." Attorney Matt Munson is representing the family.

"The family is just heartbroken and devastated," he said. "Certainly no one saw this coming."

In their statement, the Haights expressed gratitude "to all who have reached out to express love and support during this most difficult time.

"We are humbled by the incredible outreach and generosity of our community. Your prayers have been felt, your messages received and our hearts are uplifted by your kindness. To all those who have assisted in any manner with this tragic event, know of our deepest gratitude for your service. May we continue to help and strengthen one another during this difficult time," the family continued. "It is our fervent prayer that through faith in Heavenly Father and in our Savior, Jesus Christ, that there can be peace and comfort to the hearts of all those who join us in mourning the loss of these eight beautiful lives."

The family said funeral arrangements will be announced once they are finalized. Enoch officials said Thursday that the bodies of the victims were taken to the Utah State Medical Examiner's Office for autopsies, which were expected to happen Friday.

The horrendous killings have left the southern Utah community of 7,500 residents just north of Cedar City in shock. Some residents and those who knew the Haights say they did not see any red flags during the divorce proceedings and the fact that Michael Haight committed the crimes makes the scenario even more shocking.

James Park, who represented Tausha Haight in her divorce, said she had not expressed any fear that her husband would physically hurt her. He said he met with Tausha Haight only twice, most recently on Tuesday, and she "was an incredibly nice lady."

As of Friday, the names of the Haight children had not been officially released. The Iron County School District says the children went to four of their schools, ranging in grades from preschool to high school.

In their letter, the Earls also cautioned members of the public and the media from using the family's story for any political agenda.

"Protective arms were purposely removed from the home prior to the incident because all adults were properly trained to protect human life. This is the type of loss that will continue to occur in families, communities and this nation when protective arms are no longer accessible. It is our desire that the media turn their attention to the weightier matters surrounding this event.

"In place of political advocacy, we would encourage reporting about the value of all human life, the great works of God that can render a forgiving heart, how religion can heal and enlarge our capacity for love, and a return to foundational principles of peace within our nation. The reality is this tragedy serves as a call to the memory of God, religion, freedom, peace and family, and the efforts that are required to maintain those freedoms."

Contributing: Associated Press