NewsLocal News

Actions

Michael Haight was investigated for child abuse; not charged, records show

Posted at 4:40 PM, Jan 17, 2023

ENOCH CITY, Utah — Police records obtained by FOX 13 News show Michael Haight had previously been investigated for child abuse, although he was never charged following an interview in which he claimed the incidents were a "misunderstanding."

One of Haight's daughters alleged her father had emotionally abused her, while also becoming physical at times. During his own interview Haight admitted that he yelled at his children and had previously taken his wife's phone to check her text messages, but that he had never mistreated his family.

Haight's wife, Tausha, told police at the time that she hoped the investigation would be a wake up call for her husband.

Haight is the husband and father suspected of shooting and killing Tausha, his mother-in-law and five children inside an Enoch City home earlier this month. The day after the Jan. 4 shooting, police chief Jackson Ames said his department was "familiar" with the family and had been "involved in some investigations with the family a couple years prior," but did not elaborate on the reason.

Records from Enoch City police on Aug. 27, 2020 detail the claims made against Haight by his oldest daughter, Macie. In the report, the officer on the case wrote that the Utah Division of Child and Family Services was aware of the allegations.

In the interview with Macie conducted at the Iron County Children's Justice Center, she said there had been "several times over the last few years" that her father had "become assaultive with her," according to the records. She said the first instance had come about three years earlier.

Macie recounted a time when Michael Haight had become angry with her and grabbed her shoulders, before taking her head and banging it into a piece of wood along the backside of a couch.

"[Macie] stated that she was terrified that [Michael] was going to hurt her. She stated that she did not suffer any injury from this event. She was mostly scared," the officer wrote.

Two years prior to the event in 2020, Macie said Michael began to choke her and that she was afraid that he was going to kill her.

Later, Macie claimed her father "often puts her mother down to her."

"[Macie] stated that [Michael] always tells her how stupid and lazy Tausha is. She stated that when she defends her mom it makes him angrier," the report reads.

Macie added that she had seen Michael take Tausha's phone from her mother to keep her from leaving the house.

Enoch City said in a release Tuesday night that a lethality assessment was also completed with Tausha at the time of the complaint.

"Her responses to the lethality assessment did not indicate a lethal relationship," a statement from Enoch City reads. "However, victim services were made available to Tausha and her family for several months."

In his own interview at the Enoch City Police Department, Michael Haight denied the allegations and said he had never mistreated anyone in his family, and that it "had to be a misunderstanding."

Although he said he did not grab Macie, he later added that if he had done those things, it was not meant to be an assault.

"[Michael] stated that Macie is mouthy and he gets angry at her," the officer wrote of Haight's interview.

Haight told police that he does lose his temper and yells at the kids, but that it had been a "tough year" due to the passing of his father and that his brother was in the middle of a divorce.

During the interview, Haight claimed Tausha and his soon-to-be sister-in-law had "been talking and saying mean things about his mother and sister." He admitted to taking Tausha's phone and iPad to look at her text messages.

Following the interview, the officer advised Haight that his behavior was "very close to assaultive" and that he should see someone about his anger. The officer suggested that he not interfere with Macie speaking with a therapist.

Despite the allegations made by Macie and Haight's responses, the officer told Tausha following the interview with her husband that "there was no indication that there would be any violent behavior on Michael's part."

"Once the investigation was completed by the Enoch City Police Department & DCFS, the Enoch City Police Department communicated with the Iron County Attorney’s office and reviewed the details of the investigation," a statement from Enoch City states in part. "After this review, it was determined that this case did not meet all the elements required by statute for prosecution."

The police department and Iron County Attorney's Office felt at the time that criminal charges were not appropriate, and when speaking with someone at the Utah Division of Child and Family Services, that person stated they "would most likely not have supported the finding either."

The case was closed shortly thereafter.

In a statement Tuesday night, Enoch City said they take "each report of child abuse and domestic violence seriously and thoroughly investigates each and every allegation reported."

City officials thanked the public for the "outpouring of compassion" and said an investigation by law enforcement and the Utah State Medical Examiner is ongoing. Until completed, no additional information is being made available.