This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
In predictably breathless fashion, ABC's "20/20" devotes an hour to a Utah crime on Friday (9 p.m., Ch. 4). Well, an alleged crime.
The still unresolved death of Michele MacNeill takes center stage, with allegations that her husband, Martin, killed her. And at the center of report is the fact that "two of his daughters allege a twisted plot to get rid of their mom."
It's a case that has gotten considerable local attention. Here's a link to a Salt Lake Tribune story that ran almost three months ago:
And here's ABC's press release about Friday's episode:
Did Michele MacNeill, a former beauty queen and mother of eight, really die of natural causes after falling unconscious in the bathtub, as her husband, Martin, suspected and police concluded? The medical examiner originally ruled death by natural causes, but is there more to this tragedy than meets the eye? Could Martin, a well-established local doctor, have been responsible, as his daughters Alexis and Rachel allege?
The foothills of Utah's Wasatch Mountains seem like a picture-perfect place to raise a family, and the MacNeill family fit right in. In addition to being a doctor, Martin held a law degree and taught Sunday school at their Mormon church. He was married to Michele, a former beauty queen from California, and together they were raising eight children - four biological and four adopted - in a quiet, gated community. But on the morning of April 11, 2007, their seemingly perfect world fell apart when Michele, recovering from a routine plastic surgery, a face lift, was found unconscious in the bathtub. Michele died hours after Martin called 911. Daughter Alexis had reasons to believe her father might have had a hand in her mother's death; just two days earlier, her mother had an issued an ominous warning. Alexis said, "She started to cry. [Michele] said, 'If anything happens to me, make sure it wasn't your dad.'"
Did Martin pressure Michele to get the face lift and then heavily medicate her? Was he having an affair with Gypsy Willis, the woman he hired as the nanny soon after his wife's death? Did he concoct a plan to steal the identity of one of his adopted daughters? And what other secrets might this long-time doctor be hiding about his past? MacNeill's daughters and county investigators uncover some troubling questions.
You can check out a video preview here: