Police release investigation report, body cam footage of Utah family murders
Investigators have released the full 57-page report into the deaths of three adults and five children in what police say was a mass-family killing and then a death by suicide on Jan. 4.
The report also contains body camera footage from officers who entered the family home after they were alerted by community members there were people dead inside. The media-released footage blocks out the bodies of victims as police discover them in bedrooms throughout the home and check it for a possible active shooter. The report says some of the officers knew the family well and when the suspect’s body is found, the discovering officer identifies him by name.
Killed were Tausha Haight, her five children and her mother. Also, dead was her estranged husband Michael Haight who seemed to be staying in the workout room in the basement of the family’s home after he had been served divorce papers on Dec. 27 2022.
Along with Tausha Haight, killed were her children Macie (17), Briley (12), twins Ammon and Sienna (7), Gavin (4) and Gail Earl 78, who, according to the report, was staying in the house because of safety concerns.
Those concerns were heightened after the suspect declined to leave the home and then when firearms were removed from the home a day or two before the killings.
Michael Haight left a note that blames others for the events leading up to his deadly round of shootings, and declares that he would “rather rot in hell than put up with another day of this.”
The note also mentioned his frustration of efforts to create an “ideal” family. The investigation also notes multiple people reporting his focus on maintaining the appearance of a perfect family, even when they knew there was deep friction inside the home.
The report also clarifies a timeline of events investigators felt were significant leading up to the murders at approximately 3:30 a.m. on Jan. 4. That included that gunshots possibly awakened and then were heard by a neighbor who believed, at the time, they were fireworks.
The investigation notes family difficulties dating back in 2020 with a recent report of abuse on Dec. 8, 2022 from a daughter. That report was believed to be an incident from a 2020 report that had already been investigated, so didn’t get further attention.
Tausha Haight told trusted friends that as her husband’s mean actions became more focused on her children, she made a firm decision to divorce him and drew up divorce papers before Christmas but waited until after the holiday to have them delivered.
At least two of the children reported not liking the behavior of the suspect in the months before the killings. One daughter had a secret phone — confiscated by Tausha Haight — used to record her father when he would “act crazy.”
Another daughter wanted him out of the house. There were also texts to friends about safety concerns and a message of “HELP” to a friend but followed by conversation about mundane things.
A variety of people knew the Haight marriage was disintegrating and claimed the suspect would try to assert control. After divorce papers had been filed, and after he had been fired from his job, he told Tausha Haight she was backing him into a corner.
More than one person interviewed by police said Tausha Haight feared her phone or even her home conversations were being monitored by the suspect. She would sometimes talk to people about her marriage troubles with sink water turned on and in hushed tones. She would send upbeat texts, that were different from private conversations with friends.
The suspect also left a trail of Google and other online searches about the noise of gunshots. In the final days before the killings, Tausha met with her attorney again about divorce and the suspect left unusual paperwork on his desk, as if for others to find.
Just after 11 a.m. on Jan. 4, a welfare check is requested to police. The home was checked and nobody answers the door. Phone calls and other efforts were made to contact family members. Just before 4 p.m. a neighbor entered the home through an unlocked door and reported to police there were bodies inside. Officers responded immediately.