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Utah man who killed family faced 2020 abuse investigationf – Los Angeles Times

A Utah man who police say fatally shot his wife, their five children and his mother-in-law before turning the gun on himself had been investigated two years prior for child abuse, but local police and prosecutors decided not to criminally charge him, new records released Tuesday show.
Police records obtained by the Associated Press shed light on warning signs and a previous police investigation into a violent pattern of behavior Michael Haight exhibited toward his family.
Authorities said they were aware of previous problems in the home but didn’t elaborate during a news conference following the Jan. 4 killings in the small town of Enoch, citing an ongoing investigation.
In a 2020 interview with authorities, Macie Haight, the family’s eldest daughter, detailed multiple assaults, including one in which she was choked by her father and was “very afraid that he was going to keep her from breathing and kill her.”
The child abuse investigation followed an Aug. 27, 2020, police call from a non-family member reporting potential abuse. Macie, then 14, told investigators that her father’s violence started in 2017 and had included choking and shaking, including a recent incident where he grabbed her by the shoulders and banged her into a wooden piece along the back of the couch.
A little more than two years later, police found eight bodies at the family’s home, including Macie’s. The murder-suicide rocked Enoch, an 8,000-person, southern Utah town on the outskirts of Cedar City where neighbors and members of the local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints described the Haights as a loving family.

World & Nation
A Utah man fatally shot his five children, mother-in-law and wife, then killed himself two weeks after the woman had filed for divorce, according to authorities.

An obituary published in the St. George Spectrum last week described Michael Haight in glowing terms as an Eagle Scout, businessman and father who “made it a point to spend quality time with each and every one of his children.” The obituary made no mention of the killings and was taken offline after backlash.
Police believe Haight, 42, carried out the shootings two weeks after his wife had filed for divorce and just days after her relatives say he took guns from the house that could have been used to stop him.

Two years before, in his interview with investigators, Haight denied assaulting his daughter and said the report was a misunderstanding. He said Macie was “mouthy,” and he admitted to getting angry, attributing some struggles to his father’s death and brother’s divorce.
The investigator’s notes also shed light on Haight’s treatment of his wife, Tausha Haight. Macie told investigators that her father would often belittle her mother, a charge he denied. In his interview, however, Michael Haight said he had taken his wife’s iPad and cellphone to check her text messages to see whether she had spoken negatively about his family.
California
Neighbors in Pasadena were shocked to hear that friendly, soft-spoken Dharmesh Patel was charged with attempted murder after driving the family’s Tesla off the cliff on Highway 1.

Tausha Haight told authorities that she didn’t want criminal charges filed against her husband and that she hoped the incident would be “a wake-up call” for him.
Though an investigator told Michael Haight that his behavior was “close to assaultive,” Enoch Police and the Iron County Attorney’s office decided not to file criminal charges against him.
Enoch Police didn’t respond Tuesday to a request for comment about why charges were not filed. The Iron County Attorney’s office said in a statement Tuesday that it had been called in 2020 and determined there was insufficient evidence to pursue charges against Haight.

“Although specifics are not articulated, this conclusion was likely based on an inability to prove each element of the offense(s) beyond reasonable doubt and/or statute of limitations barriers,” the statement said.
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It added that prosecutors were not sent interview transcripts or police reports from the Enoch Police to review.
Matt Munson, the attorney representing Michael Haight’s family, was not immediately available for comment.
Police found the Haight family’s bodies after conducting a welfare check based on a call from a friend who said Tausha Haight had missed an appointment earlier in the week.

Officials said last week that law enforcement was continuing to investigate the deaths. The murder-suicide drew national attention and words of condolence from Utah officials and President Biden. It underscored how family mass killings have become a disturbingly common tragedy across the United States, occurring, on average, every 3½ weeks for the last two decades.
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