(NEW YORK) — A Utah doctor who was recently freed from prison faces murder and obstruction of justice charges relating to the death of his wife five years ago.
Police arrested Martin MacNeill on Friday and booked him into the Utah County Jail. The doctor and former Mormon Sunday school teacher served three years in a Texas federal prison for fraud and was released in July.
An initial autopsy report stated Michele MacNeill died of natural causes, however authorities now believe Martin MacNeill drugged and drowned his wife, who was found unconscious in the bathtub.
MacNeill’s daughter, Alexis Somers, had long advocated for police to reopen the case, believing her father was responsible for murdering her mother.
Somers said she was “so happy” and had waited “so long” for her father to be held accountable.
“It’s horrible to be happy about the arrest of your father, but finally he is being held accountable for murdering my mother,” she said.
A search warrant filed last year lays out the seemingly perfect motive: Martin MacNeill’s alleged affair with Gypsy Willis, who moved into the family’s home as a “nanny” two weeks after Michele’s death. The warrant alleges that MacNeill “intentionally overdosed” his wife after she had plastic surgery because she approached him about the alleged affair.
MacNeill’s autopsy initially concluded that she died of natural causes. Later, investigators changed it to “Undetermined,” saying new information raised “suspicion.” It raised the possibility that the combination of drugs in her body could have killed her and she may have been forced to take them.
Somers vividly recalls the day her father called to inform her of the terrible news.
“When my father called I knew he killed her,” Somers told ABC News. “I just started screaming he killed her. I knew it.”
MacNeill’s attorney, Randy Spencer, vowed to fight the charges and said he did not believe there was any new evidence.
“Mr. MacNeill will vigorously defend himself, and is confident the truth will set him free,” Spencer said in a statement.
But even more chilling for Alexis Somers is a moment days before her mother died.
“She started to cry. She said, ‘If anything happens to me, make sure it wasn’t your dad,'” Somers said. “My father planned and orchestrated my mother’s death and he thought he could get away with it.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Jennifer Graham, Deseret News
Shimon Prokupecz, CNN
John Clyde, KSL.com