After Wife's Death, Dark Secrets of Utah Doctor Revealed

After his wife's death, Martin MacNeill's criminal past, infidelity revealed.

ByABC News
February 23, 2011, 3:42 PM

Feb. 25, 2011 — -- In April, 2007, two weeks after 50-year old Michele MacNeill died following a routine facelift, her husband Martin moved his girlfriend, Gypsy Willis, into the family home. Willis, he said, would be his young children's nanny. CLICK HERE to read part 1 of this story.

MacNeill's grown daughters, Alexis and Rachel, now estranged from their father, were worried about their younger sisters and were searching for answers about their mother's death. They created a file on their father, a long-time local doctor who also has a law degree from Brigham Young University's law school.

CLICK HERE to see photos of the MacNeill family.

Together with their aunt, Linda Cluff, Michele's sister, they started asking questions. Cluff visited a detective at the Pleasant Grove, Utah, police department

"He said, 'We're closing the case,'" Cluff said she was told. "'Sorry, you know, I know that kind of shocks you because she was young to have a heart attack.'"

Pleasant Grove police declined to discuss the case with ABC News.

But the women would not give up. For more than a year, they documented MacNeill's past and tried to get someone to listen to them.

"I'd try to go to the authorities. I'd go to the governor's office," said Alexis. "I went to every single newspaper in Utah, trying to get someone to listen. … I cannot understand why no one would listen. My mother was murdered … and no one cares."

No one, until they found veteran Utah County Attorney's office investigator Doug Witney. When Witney reviewed the women's file and official reports, he began to ask questions about MacNeill -- questions that led him all the way back to MacNeill's college transcript, three decades earlier.

"It appears to me that instead of taking his transcript and altering it, he got somebody else's. It had different entrance dates," Witney said.

Witney discovered that the 23-year-old MacNeill used that phony transcript to get into medical school in Mexico. MacNeill had told people he stayed a year. But when Doug Whitney tracked down that transcript, it revealed, "he [MacNeill] had actually been there for a semester," Witney said. "It was very obvious … [it] was totally falsified as well."

MacNeill's entire career in medicine was "based on … falsified transcripts to get into two colleges," Witney said. "How can he possibly be a doctor when he didn't have the transcript to even get into medical school?"

How did MacNeill do it?

"The guy is brilliant." Witney said. "I am not saying that he is not smart … he just … lies."

Witney said MacNeill next used the phony transcripts to get into a medical college in California, where he graduated after three years with a degree in osteopathic medicine. In 1984, he landed a residency at a New York City hospital, and from there built a 30-year career as a doctor. Among other positions, he worked at the Brigham Young University health clinic for nearly 10 years, but resigned following a complaint.

But that wasn't all. Witney discovered MacNeill served in the U.S. Army for less than two years in the mid-1970's, and was discharged for a psychiatric disorder. Witney discovered that over the next three decades, MacNeill was able to collect more than $100,000 in disability payments from the Veteran's Administration. By the time Utah investigators uncovered it, the amount was up to up to $3,000 a month. The VA confirmed to ABC News that MacNeill collected benefits, but the agency would not comment further.

And there was more. As Doug Witney peeled back the layers, he discovered MacNeill was put on felony probation for three years in 1977 for writing phony checks in California. According to Gary Ryan, a former assistant district attorney in Orange County, MacNeill had used the checks to pay for, among other things, home furnishings, jewelry, 60 pairs of socks, two dozen pairs of shoes and a year's supply of chocolate-covered cherries.