Supplied  Michele MacNeill was killed by husband Martin MacNeill
Supplied Michele MacNeill was killed by husband Martin MacNeill

How daughters helped convict dad

TWO of Martin MacNeill's eight children say they knew almost instantly that their father was responsible for killing their mother but had to fight to get authorities to believe them.

Rachel MacNeill and Alexis Somers said they thought the worst when their Mormon doctor father called them to say their mother, Michele MacNeill, was found dead in their bathtub.

"'Your mum. She's in the tub. She's not breathing. I've called an ambulance.' And then he hung up. I just started driving to the airport and I was just screaming. Just screaming. He killed her. That was my first instinct," Ms Somers said.

Alexis Somers, left, and Rachel MacNeill knew dad Martin had killed their mum, Michele. Picture: ABC
Alexis Somers, left, and Rachel MacNeill knew dad Martin had killed their mum, Michele. Picture: ABC

MacNeill reportedly ordered his former beauty queen wife to get a facelift in April 2007 and told doctors to prescribe her a cocktail of drugs that when taken together can be fatal.

Ms Somers told ABC that her mother had told her "if anything happens to me, make sure it wasn't your dad".

But they had a hard time convincing authorities that their dad was responsible.

"The police report into my mother's death is about two and a half paragraphs," Ms Somers said.

Mormon doctor Martin MacNeill killed wife Michele. Picture: ABC
Mormon doctor Martin MacNeill killed wife Michele. Picture: ABC

Ms Somers, then 22, moved into the family home because she feared her younger sisters were not safe. During that time she was sexually molested by her father while she was asleep. The doctor later saying he thought his daughter was his dead wife.

It was Ms Somers and her sister who checked their father's phone records and found lots of calls to the children's nanny, Gypsy Willis.

Nanny Gypsy Willis moved in with Martin MacNeill soon after he killed his wife, Michele. Picture: ABC
Nanny Gypsy Willis moved in with Martin MacNeill soon after he killed his wife, Michele. Picture: ABC

Things became even more suspicious when MacNeill moved Ms Willis into the family home just weeks after his wife's death.

"I moved in to help with the kids," Ms Willis told ABC News. "When we had opportunity, I still slept with him."

However, his daughters say despite their father saying she was the perfect nanny, she didn't cook, clean and did little to take care of their younger siblings.

Just 90 days after his wife's death, MacNeill proposed to Ms Willis.

When Ms Somers questioned her father about the relationship he kicked her and her sister out of the home "without our keys or shoes".

"I'd try to go to the authorities. I'd go to the governor's office," Ms Somers said. "I went to every single newspaper in Utah, trying to get someone to listen … My mother was murdered. She was murdered. And no one cares."

When police finally did some digging they found MacNeill had falsified documents to get into medical school and was discharged from the Army claiming he had schizophrenia. He also forged cheques and spent 180 days in jail, all of which was news to his children.

Alexis Somers and Rachel MacNeill knew dad Martin had killed their mum, Michele. Picture: ABC
Alexis Somers and Rachel MacNeill knew dad Martin had killed their mum, Michele. Picture: ABC

Meanwhile, Ms Somers says her father was trying to get another family to adopt his three youngest daughters, who they family had taken in from the Ukraine.

When the 16-year-old Giselle MacNeill went to the Ukraine for the summer, her father and Ms Willis assumed her identity.

"When I got together with Martin, I had a lot of tax debt. Probably in the range of $50,000 or $60,000," she explained. "I knew this was breaking the law and I didn't want to do it. I said I didn't want to. He said that this is the best way to do it, it's temporary, it's not gonna hurt anybody, no one will notice," Ms Willis said.

Nanny Gypsy Willis doesn’t believe her lover Martin MacNeill killed his wife, Michele. Picture: ABC
Nanny Gypsy Willis doesn’t believe her lover Martin MacNeill killed his wife, Michele. Picture: ABC

The pair was later charged and found guilty. MacNeill was sent to prison, serving three years before being released in 2012. Two months after he got out of prison he was charged with the murder of his wife.

The girlfriend of MacNeill's son, Damian, testified that the doctor got her to flush his wife's pills down the toilet days after she died.

One of his previous lovers, Anna Osborne Walthall, also gave disturbing testimony saying he had "bragged about how he could induce a heart attack, but make it look like it was naturally caused".

Michele MacNeill was a former beauty queen. Picture: Supplied
Michele MacNeill was a former beauty queen. Picture: Supplied

On November 9, 2013, more than six years after Michele MacNeill's death, the jury found Martin MacNeill guilty of both murder and obstruction of justice.

Ms Willis never faced murder charges but Ms Somers believes she knew about the whole plan.

After serving two years in prison, MacNeill took his own life in prison after failing several times before.

Martin MacNeill killed himself in prison. Picture: Supplied
Martin MacNeill killed himself in prison. Picture: Supplied

Ms Somers meanwhile adopted her little sisters Ada, Sabrina and Elle, and has three children of her own as well.

She also became a doctor and changed her last name so she wouldn't be known as Dr MacNeill like her father.

Alexis Somers and right with her father Martin. Picture: ABC
Alexis Somers and right with her father Martin. Picture: ABC