Utah murder-suicide underscores frequency of family killings (2023)

subscribe to

Read today's e-edition

Utah murder-suicide underscores frequency of family killings


share this

access point

  • By SAM METZ and CLAUDIA LAUER - Associated Press
  • updated
  • 0

1of 4

Jess, left, sits with her sister Cecily during a news conference about the murder of a family in Enoch, Utah, Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023. A Utah man shot and killed all five of his children, his mother-in-law and his wife, then committed suicide two weeks after the woman filed for divorce, according to authorities and public records.

  • Ben B. Braun - Member Image Sharing, The Deseret News

A home where eight people were found dead in Enoch, Utah, is pictured Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023. The southern Utah community struggled for answers after police found eight people from a family, including five children, shot dead in a small town.

  • Ben B. Braun - Member Image Sharing, The Deseret News

Police continue to investigate a home where eight family members were found dead on Thursday, January 5, 2023 in Enoch, Utah. Authorities said 42-year-old Michael Haight took his own life after killing his wife, his mother-in-law and the couple's five children.

  • Sam Metz - Associate, AP

A neighbor places a bench in front of the home where eight family members were killed in Enoch, Iron County, Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023. Authorities said 42-year-old Michael Haight took his own life after killing his wife, his mother-in-law and the couple's five children.

  • Ben B. Braun - Member Image Sharing, The Deseret News
'); }

By SAM METZ and CLAUDIA LAUER - Associated Press

ENOCH, Utah (AP) — The leaders of a small Utah town gasped this week as they expressed their shock after a murder-suicide by a church colleague killed eight people in their close-knit community, including five children, they were classmates with their children.

While shocking, the mass murder of families is an all too common tragedy across the country. They have occurred almost every 3.5 weeks on average for the past two decades.a data basecompiled by USA Today, The Associated Press and Northeastern University.

Enoch, Utah, is one of more than 30 communities rocked by a mass murder of families in the past two years, a list that includes communities rich and poor and spares no race or class. A family of mass murders, killing four or more people, not counting the perpetrator, has occurred in places as large as Houston or as small every two years.Big House, Arizona, shows the database.

People also read...

The Circumstances of the Murders are Mixed: A Dispute Over Pandemic Stimulus Checkssheetsfour family members shot dead and two wounded in Indianapolis;financial problemsleading authorities to find six children and their parents in a burned-out home in Oklahoma; An escalating custody battle in Ohio precedes a man and his family members shooting dead the mother of his son and seven members of his family; A father loses his job, loads his wife and her children into the family van and dumps it in the Detroit River.

The motives behind family murders in which the attackers take their own lives can remain speculative, but police often cite relationship or financial problems as the causes.

Enoch police are still investigating what led to this.deceasedwas discovered Wednesday, but authorities said Tausha Haight recently filed for divorce from her husband Michael, a 42-year-old insurance agent who they believe killed her, their five children and Tausha's mother, who was at the house where the family lived. .

Authorities have not released any information about the weapon they believe killed the adults and children, ages 4 to 17. A relative of Tausha HaightsayingFriday that the family was "at risk" after Michael Haight made off with weapons he and his wife had in the days leading up to the murder-suicide.

Police went to the Haight home Wednesday in response to a call to social security made when Tausha Haight missed an appointment.

The news caused moms, dads, teachers and parishioners to ask a question many communities face in the aftermath of mass shootings: How did this happen?

Councilman Rob Jensen said he was aware that such tragedies occur across the country, but it did little to calm the shock he felt when the murders occurred in his city.

“You don't expect that, especially in a small town. Nobody does that," Jensen said. “Everyone knows that something like this can happen. But they all want to say they're not."

Mass murders of families immediately attract the attention of people in a community, but they rarely attract the level of national attention that mass murders in schools, places of worship or restaurants get, said James Alan Fox, a criminologist at the Northeastern University, which studies family murders and mass killings, has had murders for decades.

Fox, who helped compile and maintain the AP and USA Today database, said that's because it doesn't generate the same kind of public fear. She noted that police often issue messages indicating that there is no danger to the public soon after murders are discovered.

“It's a beautiful and safe community, but family massacres are independent of the crime rate in the area,” he said. "We're talking about internal factors and I think that's why it's hard for people to see themselves in these situations and why the response to that is to cry instead of fear."

Mass murders of families are, in fact, the most common type of mass murder, accounting for about 45% of the 415 mass shootings since 2006, according to the database. They happen twice as often as mass shootings in which people are killed.

Most, but not all, involve firearms, with only about a third affecting households with a history of domestic violence, and most attackers have no violent or criminal history, Fox said.

There is no state agency that tracks homicides nationwide, so policy analysts at the Center for Violence Policy, a nonprofit educational organization that conducts research and public education on violence in the United States, began Trace the details of the news a few years back to create a yearbook audit report. The latest version from 2020 dealt with murder-suicides, including many mass murders in the first six months of 2019.

The study found that 81% of murder-suicides were committed in the home and 65% involved intimate partners. The study also found that among the homicide-suicides that killed more than three people other than the attacker, six of the 10 during those six months were incidents in which a person killed their children, their partner, and themselves.

According to Fox, most murders fall into two categories. The first is proxy killing, where the killer is motivated by anger or resentment and kills the children, who are seen as an extension of his partner. The second is suicide by proxy, motivated by low spirits or depression, most commonly job loss, with the attacker killing the children as an extension of himself.

“He wants to spare them the misery of living in this horrible world,” Fox said. “Over the years there has been an eclipse in the community. There was a time, decades ago, when you were struggling to support your family or when you lost your job, the neighbors would come over with pots and pans and offer you emotional support. A lot of people these days don't know their neighbors."

Lauer reported from Philadelphia.

Copyright 2023 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed, or redistributed without permission.



  • DC
  • Cable
  • application media
  • family mass murders
  • Suicide
  • crime
  • murder
  • General news
  • Government and policy
  • Health

'); var s = documento.createElement('script'); s.setAttribute('src', 'https://assets.revcontent.com/master/delivery.js'); documento.cuerpo.appendChild(s); window.removeEventListener ('Scroll', ThrottleRevContent); __tnt.log('Revisiones sin carga'); } } }, 100); ventana.addEventListener('Desplazamiento', ThrottleRevContent);


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Patricia Veum II

Last Updated: 18/08/2023

Views: 6335

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (64 voted)

Reviews: 87% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Patricia Veum II

Birthday: 1994-12-16

Address: 2064 Little Summit, Goldieton, MS 97651-0862

Phone: +6873952696715

Job: Principal Officer

Hobby: Rafting, Cabaret, Candle making, Jigsaw puzzles, Inline skating, Magic, Graffiti

Introduction: My name is Patricia Veum II, I am a vast, combative, smiling, famous, inexpensive, zealous, sparkling person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.