Utah man killed his wife and five kids after she filed for divorce, police say

A family of eight — three adults and five children — were found shot to death in Utah, police said. Law enforcement officials said they believe the deaths were the result of a murder-suicide.

Police in Enoch City made the discovery on Wednesday when visiting the home to conduct a welfare check. All of the bodies were found inside the home.

On Thursday, officials revealed that the shooting suspect is Michael Haight, 42, who was found among the dead.

“Evidence suggests that the suspect took his own life after killing seven others in the home,” Enoch City police told USA Today.

Mr Haight’s wife, Tausha Haight, 40, and her mother, 78-year-old Gail Earl, were also found dead in the home. The other five victims were identifed as Mr Haight’s children. They are a 17-year-old girl, 12-year-old girl, 7-year-old girl, 7-year-old boy and a 4-year-old boy.

Tausha Haight had recently filed for divorce, as per a report by the Associated Press.

City officials issued a statement Wednesday saying they did not believe there was an active threat to the public, but noted that an investigation is still underway.

“It’s hard to describe in words the emotions that are going through the people who live here,” Rob Dotson, the city’s manager, told KUTV2. “We all know this family. Many of us have served with them in church, in community, and gone to school with these individuals.”

It is unclear what — or who — prompted the welfare check on the property.

Mr Dotson said investigators planned to spend time with the victims’ loved ones over the course of the investigation to better understand what might have happened.

“We won’t know the mindsets, the thoughts, of the individuals who experienced this tragedy. But we all can pray that their families and the neighbors can come to an understanding of what happened in this place, probably within a day or two or maybe longer,” he told KUTV2.

The school the children attended released a statement to parents in the wake of the shooting.

“It is with deep regret that we inform you about a tragic loss to our school community. This afternoon, on Jan. 4, eight members of a family residing in Enoch with five students in our schools tragically passed away,” the statement said, according to KUTV2. “This loss is sure to raise many emotions, concerns, and questions for our entire school district, especially our students.”

The state’s governor, Spencer Cox, tweeted out his condolences on Wednesday.

“Our hearts go out to all those affected by this senseless violence,” he wrote. “Please keep the community of Enoch in your prayers.”

Enoch City is approximately 245 miles south of Salt Lake City.