Pl. Grove doctor has initial appearance on murder charge

Michele MacNeill died in 2007 shortly after undergoing plastic surgery. Her death was initially believed to have resulted from natural causes, but MacNeill's daughter Alexis Somers says her father and Michele's husband, Martin, was actually responsible. National media, including an upcoming feature by the TV show "20/20," is now following the investigation. Photo courtesy Rachel MacNeill

PLEASANT GROVE — New information has led authorities to reopen an investigation into the death of a Utah woman and a search warrant shows authorities suspect her husband, a once-prominent doctor and lawyer, gave her a lethal combination of drugs days after she underwent surgery.

The search warrant filed in 4th District Court earlier this month indicates authorities believe Martin MacNeill had the motive and opportunity to kill his wife, Michele, in 2007, the Deseret News reported on its website Thursday evening.

An investigation is ongoing and MacNeill has not been charged in his wife's death. If no additional charges are filed, he is scheduled to be released from federal prison in Texas, where he is serving time for identity fraud, the newspaper reported.

An initial autopsy attributed Michele MacNeill's death to natural causes after she was found dead four years ago in a bathtub in her Pleasant Grove home. But a review of the autopsy requested by the Utah County Attorney's office later found that the drugs in her system would have caused her to become unresponsive and "could have stopped her heart because of the additive effect of each of these drugs taken together."

The investigation was reopened after the MacNeill's children and other relatives went to authorities with suspicions about the husband, the Deseret News reported.

According to the warrant, Michele MacNeill told her daughter that the night she came home from surgery her husband "had her take medications throughout the night even though she began throwing up."

The new warrant also states recent information led a medical examiner to question whether Michele MacNeill had willingly taken medications found in her system.

For several years before his wife died, Martin MacNeill had been seeing another woman, with whom he exchanged dozens of text messages in the days after his wife's surgery, the warrant said.

"Martin had motive to kill his wife as he was attempting to hide his affair with Gypsy Willis and his continued contact with her. . Ultimately, Martin intentionally overdosed Michele with the medications that Dr. Grey determined played a vital role in causing her death," investigators wrote.

See what people are talking about at The Community Table!