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

Published: Saturday, Dec. 4 2010 11:10 p.m. MST

Police and paramedics who responded to the MacNeill home that morning described him as "extremely agitated" at them and then at Michele. Medical personnel at American Fork Hospital, where resuscitation efforts continued for 45 minutes, described Martin's behavior there as "bizarre" and inconsistent with a bereaving husband. One doctor said Martin offered him $10,000 to continue lifesaving techniques beyond the 45-minute mark.

Drugs and suspicions

Frikke, the medical examiner who analyzed Michele's blood, which was drawn right after her death, noted that the drugs prescribed to her after her surgery had been administered to her less than an hour before her death. Such a finding greatly concerned Alexis, who said her mother had stopped taking those medications, and she worried her father may have crushed them up and put them in her food.

Right after Michele died, Martin also instructed his son, Damian, and Damian's girlfriend to dispose of all the pills their mother had been taking "because he couldn't bear to have them as a reminder of her death," the affidavit states.

Co-workers told investigators that Martin would have known the importance of saving a patient's drugs to help in resuscitation efforts or death investigations.

When Alexis confronted her dad about the missing pills, he told her he did not know where they were and said police must have taken them.

Pleasant Grove police, however, did not look for or confiscate any medications, even though Martin had told them that his wife had been taking a lot of medications since her surgery.

"Unfortunately at the time when officers arrived, there was no evidence suggesting foul play," said Pleasant Grove Police Capt. Mike Smith.

Damian told the Deseret News his father wanted him to get rid of the pills that day because he wanted to keep his mother's face-lift a private matter and said his father was also afraid he would try to overdose on the drugs himself.

The days after

Michele's funeral was held three days after her death. Martin spoke at the funeral, quoting the story of Job from the Bible and then told stories of his own family, whom he described as "the definition of dysfunctional." He spoke about trials in life but only mentioned Michele in passing and never spoke about her life or characteristics.

"What have I done to cause this?" he said during the funeral.

Michele's older brothers, Mick and Steve Somers, had driven from California, where they lived, to Utah for the funeral, but Martin had one of his children call them and tell them not to come.

The two didn't want to upset the girls, so they held their own ceremony the next day. But both said they felt immediately when they heard about Michele's passing that Martin probably had something to do with her death.

"We knew something was wrong," Mick Somers said.

Steve Somers said they didn't think beforehand that Martin would go to such an extent, but the circumstances in which she died and how Martin reacted afterward confirmed it in their minds. "He thought he could get away with anything, and he did for years," he said.

The night of Michele's funeral, neighbor Hernandez said she went over to the MacNeills' house. Martin wasn't crying and didn't seem sad. She found it especially odd that he gave her a tour of the house and told her about the improvements he was planning. That next morning, he brought her some flowers from the funeral and she recalled that "he seemed almost happy."

Three days after the funeral, Martin told his children he needed a nanny to help with the younger kids — something the older daughters told him was unnecessary. Martin asked Rachel to go with him to the LDS Mount Timpanogos Temple to pray about a nanny.

Just outside the temple, a woman whom her dad pretended not to know walked out of the temple and up to Rachel and Martin and began talking to them. Rachel said her dad acted very strange.

"This was the first time I realized something was wrong," she said. "The whole thing had been scripted."

Not only did her father know this woman, he had been dating her for 16 months, she would later learn.

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