Search warrant seeks more clues in Utah County homicide investigation
While recovering from plastic surgery three years ago, Michele MacNeill worried that her husband, Martin MacNeill, was giving her too many painkillers and other prescription drugs
"If something happens to me," she told her daughter Alexis Somers, "make sure it wasn't your dad."
Six days after that conversation on April 5, 2007, the 50-year-old mother of eight was found dead in the bathroom of her Pleasant Grove home.
According to a search warrant recently made public by 4th District Court officials, investigators also believe Martin MacNeill killed his wife with a deadly combination of drugs.
"There is probable cause to believe that Martin MacNeill had the opportunity, the motive, the psychological disposition, and the capability of killing his wife, Michele MacNeill," the search warrant states.
The Utah Medical Examiner's Office initially concluded Somers' mom died of cardiovascular disease. But in October 2010 Chief Medical Examiner Todd Grey established that a combination of drugs found in Michele MacNeill's system also contributed to her death.
That finding, along with new "investigative information" uncovered by the Utah County Attorney's Office, has prompted investigators to take a closer look at the manner of Michele MacNeill's death and Martin MacNeill's role in it.
The search warrant seeks access to emails sent between Martin MacNeill and an ex-lover that could allegedly provide "vital information" since they were used "before, during, and after" the death of his wife.
Investigators believe Martin MacNeill, a former Utah Developmental Center clinical director, obtained a half-dozen prescription drugs for his wife to help her recover from cosmetic surgery performed April 3, 2007. Eight days later, he allegedly gave her a mixture of the drugs that would have stopped her heart when taken together.
"Ultimately, Martin intentionally overdosed Michele with the medications that Dr. Grey determined played a vital role in causing her death," the search warrant states.
According to investigators, Martin MacNeill killed his wife because he no longer loved her and was trying to hide two love affairs. They also allege Martin MacNeill gave police and others conflicting accounts in 2007 as to how he found his wife's body lying in the bathtub. The search warrant states he ordered his son's girlfriend to dump the medications he provided his wife into the toilet after her death.
He also spoke flippantly to neighbors about being a bachelor again on the night Michele died, and he remarked that he needed to get an autopsy done so that he would not be implicated in her death.
Noting that no charges have been filed, Deputy Utah County prosecutor Chad Grunander said Friday he had no specific details about the case and that it was premature to speculate where it was headed.
"We hope to get the case for screening within the next few weeks," he said.