A Utah man who fatally shot his wife, her mother and their five children left a suicide note saying he would “rather rot in hell” than continue to be controlled by his wife, investigators wrote in a report , published on Friday
SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah man who fatally shot his wife, her mother and the couple’s five children after being investigated for child abuse left a suicide note saying he would “rather rot in hell” than to continue to put up with what he called controlling behavior from his wife, investigators wrote in a report released Friday.
The claims in the obituary left by 42-year-old Michael Haight are at odds with investigators’ conclusions in the 57-page report, which largely portrays Haight, not his wife, as controlling and abusive. The report cited family messages before the killings and interviews with community members conducted after the tragedy in January.
“This is bullshit and I can’t take another day of this. We will not be a burden on society. I kept asking for help and you wouldn’t listen,” Michael Haight, 42, wrote in the note included in the report released by the city of Enoch.
“I’d rather rot in hell than put up with another day of this manipulation and control over me,” Haight wrote.
Haight’s attorney, Matt Munson, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.
The report was based on documents released after the murder-suicide that described how Haight removed firearms from the home, was investigated on suspicion of child abuse and was searched online for a “shot at a house” in the run-up to the shootings.
He paints a picture of Haight as a fickle husband concerned with maintaining a facade of perfection in the southern Utah community where the family lives, where the majority of residents are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The report also describes how mattresses were placed over all but one of his children’s bodies in bedrooms in the home. Body camera footage released with the report shows a tidy home.
Investigators also interviewed a neighbor who said she woke up the night before the eight bodies were found to hear multiple “explosions” that she assumed were fireworks.
The report details the circumstances leading up to the murders, which occurred two weeks after Haight’s wife, Tausha Haight, filed for divorce.
People close to the Haights, interviewed by investigators, whose names were redacted in the report, said Michael Haight had lost his job at Allstate Insurance in nearby Cedar City, Utah, and wanted to start an independent agency.
They said that despite his wife’s wishes and his drive for a divorce, he remained living in the family home until the tragedy with his wife, five children and mother-in-law, who was there out of concern for her daughter’s safety.
The report also described how Haight, his wife, mother-in-law and five children were found in the bedrooms of the family home on the afternoon of January 4 after a man described by police as a “family friend” entered through an open door.
Police had gone to check on the Haight earlier in the afternoon after concerns for their welfare were reported, but left without reporting any signs or sightings of violence.
“Nobody answered the door. It did not appear that anyone was in the home as there was no noise,” an Enoch police officer wrote in a report summarizing his visit to the family’s home before the bodies were discovered.
Tausha Haight, her mother Gail Earle and her four-year-old child were found in the couple’s first-floor bedroom lying on pillows partially covered by blankets and surrounded by blood. The other children were found in the bedrooms of the home, all in their beds, except for the seven-year-old on the floor and Haight, who was found lying on the floor on a sleeping bag.
The murder-suicide in southern Utah is among more than 30 family-related mass killings that have occurred in the United States in the past two years. They have occurred an average of every 3-1/2 weeks over the past two decades, according to a database compiled by USA Today, The Associated Press and Northeastern University of homicides in which four or more people were killed without the perpetrator.