Newspaper Pulls Obituary Praising Man Who Killed His Wife and 5 Kids in Murder-Suicide After Backlash

According to the bizarre elegy in The Spectrum, Michael Haight believed his children "were truly a cherished miracle." It did not mention that he killed them.

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A screenshot of the now-deleted obituary for Michael Haight on The Spectrum.
A screenshot of the cached version of the obituary for Michael Haight.
Screenshot: Jody Serrano / Gizmodo / The Spectrum

A local newspaper has pulled an obituary praising a deceased Utah man for his “life of service” and dedication to his family, all the while ignoring the way that he died—a murder-suicide that took the life of his wife, five children, and mother-in-law. The obituary described his children as “truly a cherished miracle” despite of the fact that he killed them.

The Spectrum, a Gannett-owned local news outlet in Southern Utah, took down the obituary for 42-year-old Michael Haight days after being lambasted by both media outlets and folks on social media. Although Haight’s bizarre and insensitive obituary was published on Jan. 11, it spread to the mainstream days later after being shared on Twitter by Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, a group opposing gun violence.

The obituary was unavailable on The Spectrum’s website on Tuesday morning. Attempts to read the obituary now redirect the reader to the newspaper’s main page. According to a cached version of the obituary, it was still available on Monday morning.

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A spokesperson from The Spectrum confirmed to Gizmodo that the obituary had been on Tuesday morning.

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Obituaries may be written and submitted by funeral homes, as was the case here,” the spokesperson said. “The Spectrum removed the obituary due to the circumstances and sincerely regrets any distress this may have caused.”

Police in Enoch, a small town in Southern Utah, said Haight killed his 40-year-old wife Tausha; their children, who ranged from ages 4 to 17; and his 78-year-old mother-in-law. The eight family members were found on Jan. 4 after a welfare check, all with fatal gunshot wounds, the Associated Press reported. The murders occurred two weeks after Tausha filed for divorce from Haight.

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Haight’s crime was not mentioned in his obituary in The Spectrum, which painted him as an outstanding citizen and father. His children “were truly a cherished miracle” to him, it proclaimed, adding that he “enjoyed making memories with the family.”

“He spent many evenings and Saturdays coaching the children’s city league sporting teams, attending the children’s concerts at school, going on side-by-side rides, doing home-improvement projects, sledding and much more,” the obituary read. “Michael lived a life of service. Whether it was serving in the church or in the community, he was willing to help with whatever was needed.”

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Tausha, her mother, and the couple’s five children were buried last Friday before a crowd of nearly 850 people. Haight’s funeral will be private and only open to family and friends.

You can read the full obituary on a cached version of The Spectrum’s website.

Update 1/17/2023, 11:26 a.m. ET: This post has been updated with additional comment from The Spectrum.