8 Die in Utah Murder-suicide as Wife Seeks Divorce

8 Die in Utah Murder-Suicide as Wife Seeks Divorce

8 Die in Utah Murder-suicide as Wife Seeks Divorce: Two weeks after his wife filed for divorce, a Utah man shot and killed his wife, mother-in-law, and five of his children before turning the gun on himself. In addition, police said at a news conference on Thursday that they had looked into the 42-year-old man and his family “a couple of years prior,” implying that there may have been past issues in the home.

Jackson Ames, the chief of the Enoch Police Department, offered no other details. According to Mayor Geoffrey Chesnut, investigators were aware of the divorce petition but were unsure if it was the cause of the murders. A little community called Enoch in southern Utah, midway between Salt Lake City and Las Vegas was rocked by the murders.

It is located in one of the fastest-growing regions of the nation, and large families who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, more often known as the Mormon church, make up the majority of the communities of new homes on expansive lots. Many locals commute to Cedar Community, a nearby city of around 35,000 people, where they work and conduct business because Enoch lacks a downtown.

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The deceased was a well-known local figure who belonged to the faith. According to city officials, a large number of residents attended church with the victims’ family members or attended the same schools as the kids. The loss of these people, with whom many families have spent many nights, is a “devastating blow,” according to Chesnut.

People are “feeling loss, they’re feeling grief, and they have a lot of questions,” according to city manager Rob Dotson. Residents of the neighborhood met Thursday night at a church across the street from the house where the dead were discovered the day before to grieve and sing songs in a private memorial.

According to authorities, Michael Haight killed his wife Tausha Haight, 40, his mother-in-law, and the five children they had together. They all appeared to have been shot. According to officials, the three girls and two boys, whose ages varied from 4 to 17, including twins who were 7 years old. Gail Earl, Tausha Haight’s 78-year-old mother, was reportedly staying with the family to support them through a trying period.

According to court documents, Tausha Haight filed for divorce on December 21. Haight had received the documents on December 27, according to her lawyer’s statement on Thursday. The divorce’s causes were unknown, in part because Utah law prohibits the public from learning the specifics of divorce proceedings.

The night before the killings, Tausha Haight and other family members were spotted at a church group for young ladies, according to Chesnut. Someone reported that she had skipped an appointment earlier in the week, prompting police to be sent to the family’s house for a welfare check, according to city officials.

Family mass murders have become a horrifyingly frequent tragedy all over the nation. According to a database created by USA Today, The Associated Press, and Northeastern University, there were 17 of them in 2022. Ten of the shootings were murder-suicides, and 14 were. The database defines mass murder as the killing of four or more individuals, excluding the attacker.

Tausha Haight’s divorce attorney, James Park, claimed she didn’t express any concern that her husband would physically harm her. Park chose not to go into further detail, citing the ongoing homicide investigation. Tausha Haight, with whom he had only two meetings, the most recent of which was on Tuesday, he claimed, “was an extraordinarily nice person.”

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden were in sadness with the Enoch community, according to a statement from the White House. It urged greater action to lessen gun violence, which is currently the greatest cause of mortality for children in the United States.

The bodies were discovered in a residence that was lit up for Christmas and was in a subdivision of recently constructed single-family homes on a ridge overlooking Enoch. It offers a view of residences with distant mountains and roofs coated with snow. Police tape divided the neighboring block in half.

New subdivisions are transforming the formerly agrarian Cedar City region. At the outskirts of the town, the route is lined with sheep and cattle as well as advertisements for “Custom New Homes” and outdoor activities in southern Utah’s well-known national parks.

On Thursday morning, Cedar City resident Sharon Huntsman visited the area with an arrangement of white flowers. She sobbed as she supported the bouquet in the snow at a makeshift memorial where neighbors had left flowers and toy animals and claimed the killings had greatly shaken Iron County.

She remarked, “It’s simply one big community.” All of us have a single heavenly father. Michael Haight’s childhood is documented in newspaper archives, starting with a photo of him smiling as a young child in a birth announcement. He served on a church mission in Brazil while a Boy Scout.

At a church temple, Haight wed Tausha Earl in 2003. He was raised in Cedar City, but she was from Overton, Nevada, which is roughly two hours south. Haight pursued a career in insurance as an adult. On Tausha Haight’s Facebook page, there were images of her family posing in front of a sizable statue of Jesus and beautiful Utah settings.

Tausha’s sister-in-law and Utah State Board of Education member Jennie Earl wrote about the “tough competition” to be the kids’ favorite aunt in a Facebook post featuring Tausha and her kids. In his letter, Earl prayed that Christ’s love would mend our shattered hearts and fill us with forgiveness and serenity. When The Associated Press contacted her, she chose not to comment.

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People from the neighborhood who had come to Enoch City Hall to hear the news conference on Thursday said it had been heartbreaking to have to explain to their children that some of their friends would not be at school the following day.

Richard Jensen, a city councilman and a father of eight, stated, “We told them last night.” “We gathered them together for a sort of family prayer. We informed them that a family in the town had lost every member, and it was probable that some of the children will be absent when they arrive at school tomorrow.