June 10, 2019
TWO-HOUR ’20/20′ DOCUMENTARY REPORTS ON DOCTOR AND FATHER OF EIGHT WHO MURDERED HIS WIFE AND THEN HAD HIS MISTRESS MOVE IN AS THE NANNY
The Report Unravels the Complex Details About Martin MacNeill’s Dark Past, the Identity Fraud Scandal Involving His Adopted Daughter and Mistress Plus His Daughters’ Quest for Justice
‘20/20’ Airs on Friday, June 14 (9:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on ABC
When Michele MacNeill’s 6-year-old child found her unresponsive in her bathtub, her daughters Alexis Somers and Rachel MacNeill immediately suspected that their father, Martin MacNeill, had killed her. It took authorities five years to charge Martin, a wealthy doctor and father of eight, with Michele’s murder. A two-hour “20/20” documentary reports on the twists and turns of the story including what prosecutors say was Martin’s plot to kill Michele; his affair with another woman, Gypsy Willis, who moved in as the nanny just weeks after Michele’s death; the identity fraud scandal involving Gypsy and Martin’s stealing his adopted daughter’s identity that landed them both for a time in federal prison; and his daughters’ persistent pursuit to seek justice for their mother and put their father behind bars for good. “20/20” airs on Friday, June 14 (9:00-11:00 p.m. EDT) on ABC.
“20/20” features new interviews with Alexis and Rachel, children of Michele and Martin; Doug Witney and Jeff Robinson, retired investigators who worked on both the identity fraud and murder cases; Chad Grunander, a prosecutor on the murder case; and crime writer Shanna Hogan, who wrote the book “The Stranger She Loved,” based on the story. “20/20” also includes interviews with Linda Cluff, Michele’s sister; Gypsy, Martin’s former mistress; Julie Willis, Gypsy’s sister; Doug and Kristi Daniels, the MacNeills’ neighbors who were on the scene after Michele’s death; Jill Harper, Michele’s niece; and Sergeant Josh Motsinger, one of the first police officers on the scene.
After the medical examiner ruled their mother’s death to be natural, Alexis and Rachel were able to convince the county attorney’s office to look into their father’s past. Investigator Witney discovered a dark history: Martin used fake transcripts to get into medical school and forged checks in California resulting in felony probation. Investigators also asked a toxicologist to review the original toxicology report on Michele, which showed an unusual combination of powerful sedatives and painkillers. Following that review, the state medical examiner’s office changed Michele’s manner of death from natural to undetermined. Less than two months after he was released from prison on the fraud conviction, Martin was arrested and charged with his wife’s murder.
During the trial, prosecutors claimed that Martin convinced Michele to have a facelift and then drugged and drowned her so he could be with Gypsy. Anna Osborne Walthall, another former mistress of Martin, testified in court that Martin once told her there is a way to naturally induce a heart attack so it couldn’t be detected in tests. The jury found Martin guilty of first-degree murder and a judge sentenced him to 15 years to life in prison. Martin died by suicide at the Utah State Prison just two days before the tenth anniversary of Michele’s death.
“20/20” is anchored by David Muir and Amy Robach. David Sloan is senior executive producer.
ABC News Media Relations
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