"And he was just headed right off the plane. It was quite a surprise," said Jeff Robinson. "He had no idea what was going on … and that was the beauty of it."
Willis was arrested the same day at the MacNeill home. According to Witney, MacNeill and Willis may have been planning to sell the house and leave town. MacNeill pled guilty to two counts of aggravated identity theft. Willis pled guilty to a related fraud charge. They were sent to federal prisons in Texas. Willis received a two-year sentence; MacNeill received a mandatory four-year sentence.
Alexis MacNeill saw her father at his final sentencing hearing.
"The only thing he said to me is …'I hope you're happy with what you've done,'" she said.
In a statement to the court, MacNeill reportedly denied he had anything to do with his wife's death. But with MacNeill and Willis now in prison, Witney collected evidence that might link them to Michele MacNeill's death. But it would not be easy, because this was now a circumstantial case. Pleasant Grove police did not treat the house as a crime scene, collect evidence, or interview anyone but Martin MacNeill. The medical examiner ruled the manner of Michele MacNeill's death was "natural."
So, Witney interviewed witnesses police never did. And he attempted to piece together a detailed timeline of what happened that morning. Witney focused on apparent discrepancies between what MacNeill told people and other witnesses at the scene.
The investigators also wanted to confirm what prescription drugs were in Michele MacNeill's system the day she died. They asked a toxicologist to review the original toxicology report, which showed an unusual combination of powerful sedatives and painkillers, including Oxycodone, Valium, Lortab and Ambien. Investigators wondered if the results could convince the Utah medical examiner to rule that Michele died under suspicious circumstances. After all, Michele MacNeill had the surgery a week earlier and had told her daughter she was feeling better that morning.
ABC News has learend the Utah medical examiner's office recently revised Michele MacNeill's manner of death from "natural" to "undetermined," with suspicious circumstances.
Witney wouldn't discuss further details of the ongoing investigation, but did say this to ABC News: "The reason we have a homicide investigation is that we believe that there is probable cause … there is foul play involved here … and we believe we are on the right track."
This past fall, the investigators travelled to Texas to try to talk to MacNeill in federal prison. But he wouldn't see them. Nor would he or Gypsy Willis talk to ABC News, despite repeated requests. Investigators are trying to determine if Willis had any involvement in Michele MacNeill's death, but won't say more than that.
It's believed the two still write to each other from prison, which is where both of their families hope they will remain.
"She belongs in a controlled facility where she can't hurt anybody," said Gypsy Willis's sister, Julie. "I'm sorry to say, but she does hurt people, and she will continue to hurt people to get what she wants."
Alexis and Rachel MacNeill say they will do everything they can to help in the Utah County investigation of their mother's death. They say they worry about what will happen if their father is released from prison, as scheduled, in two years.