ENOCH, Utah – The eight people found dead at a home in rural Utah on Wednesday, including five children between the ages of 4 and 17, appeared to have been the victims of a murder-suicide, authorities said Thursday.
At a news conference, officials in Enoch said investigators believe that Michael Haight, 42, killed himself after shooting and killing his wife, 40-year-old Tausha Haight, and their children, identified as a 4-year-old boy, a 7-year-old boy, a 7-year-old girl, a 12-year-old girl and a 17-year-old girl. Authorities said Tausha Haight’s mother, 78-year-old Gail Earl, was also killed.
The family was found dead after someone called authorities to request a welfare check. City manager Rob Dotson said Tausha Haight had failed to show up for an appointment.
Authorities did not immediately confirm a motive in the shootings, though officials said Tausha Haight had filed for divorce from Michael Haight on Dec. 21. He was served with the papers on Dec. 27, according to The Associated Press.
James Park, who represented Tausha Haight in the divorce, told the AP that she hadn’t seemed fearful “that her husband would physically hurt her,” though he declined to elaborate.
The Haights had been married for nearly 20 years, KSTU-TV reported.
Police chief Jackson Ames said authorities had made contact with the Haight family a few years ago, but he declined to go into detail. He said authorities had not recently had any dealings with the family.
It was not immediately clear when the deadly shooting took place, though Dotson said that people spoke with some members of the family the night before their bodies were discovered.
Family friend Tina Brown told the news station that Tausha Haight “was the most kind and generous person.”
“She never ever said anything ill about anyone,” Brown said, according to KSTU. “She would give the shirt off of her back for anyone and she served people tirelessly.”
Residents told KSL-TV that the Haights were active in the community, which has a population of about 8,000. At a news conference Thursday, Mayor Geoffrey Chestnut got emotional as he remembered the family.
“The Haights were my neighbors,” he said. “The youngest children played in my yard with my sons.”
He added that the killings were “a tremendous blow to many, many families who have spent many, many nights with these individuals who are now gone.”
Authorities continue to investigate.
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