Martin MacNeill: Was his wife Michele's death accidental or was it murder?

Published: Saturday, Dec. 4 2010 3:00 p.m. MST

Alexis said her mother had not asked for any medication and didn't need any for the pain. Her mother had strong reactions to any medication and had always taken less than was prescribed, and her father was aware of that.

Michele was worried about her husband's intentions. Her eyes were still covered and swollen from the surgery, and Michele feared her husband was giving her too much medication — so much it made her throw up and was making her feel drowsy, she told Alexis. Michele asked Alexis to let her hold each pill in her hand in order to know what each pill was that her husband was giving her.

Alexis remembers her mom saying: "If anything happens to me, make sure it was not your dad."

Five days later, on the night of April 10, Alexis returned to Las Vegas, where she was attending her first year of medical school.

Within 18 hours, Michele was dead.

Yet Alexis had left her mother in "terrific spirits." Michele even told Alexis the morning of her death that she was surprised how kindly her husband was treating her. Just an hour later, though, Alexis received a disturbing voice mail from her father.

Your mother won't stay in bed, he told her. This confused Alexis because her mother had been up doing laundry again and was back to her normal routine. After trying to call her mother several times that morning, Alexis said her dad picked up Michele's phone and told her he had just called 911 and was attempting CPR and then he hung up.

She dropped her backpack, ran to her car and started driving to the airport, screaming as she drove: "He's killed her! He's killed her! He's killed her!"

"I just had this overwhelming feeling that he had done it," she said. "I was very, very close to my dad. My whole world turned upside down. I am a pretty rational person, but that was the feeling. It was very strange, unsettling and horrifying to come to that realization."

911 call

The day of Michele's death, Martin made numerous inconsistent statements regarding the facts surrounding his wife's death. He also withheld information from hospital personnel, the police and the medical examiner, wrote Doug Witney an investigator with the Utah County Attorney's Office, in an affidavit.

In a recording of the 911 call, Martin can be heard yelling to the dispatcher that his wife is unconscious and underwater in the bathtub.

Yet Martin apparently told others his wife was found hanging on the outside of the tub. According to a report from one of the emergency room doctors who attended to Michele, lividity formed on the back of her legs and buttocks, suggesting Michele died on her back. Lividity, or settling of the blood in the lower portion of the body, usually forms within an hour of death.

When asked by the dispatcher if he could get her out of the tub, Martin says he can't, then says he let the water out, then angrily says she's out of the water. He can be heard saying something like, "CPR in progress," then hangs up.

After the dispatcher calls Martin back, he twice yells that he's performing CPR, explains that he's a physician and his wife had surgery a week earlier, then hangs up again.

It's unclear how or if he was able to perform CPR while his wife was still in the bathtub. "It would be virtually impossible to give chest compressions to someone in that position," Witney wrote in a search warrant affidavit.

Years later, the Pleasant Grove dispatcher says she can still hear Martin's "aggressive, angry and condescending" voice as she tried to offer assistance. The calls were so unusual that the recordings were saved in order to provide training for other dispatchers.

Try out the new DeseretNews.com design!
try beta learn more
Get The Deseret News Everywhere