Dateline   |  November 13, 2013

'Secrets in Pleasant Grove' part 2

A frantic husband, Dr. Martin Macneill , calls 9-1-1 for help after he finds his wife lifeless in the bathtub. What happened to Michele MacNeill?

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> she was just 50 years old. she had lived a clean, healthy, mormon life. little younger, a little

>> police department .

>> i need an ambulance.

>> what's the problem, sir?

>> medical.

>> sir, what's wrong?

>> my wife's fallen in the bathtub.

>> who's in the bathtub? who's in the bathtub?

>> my wife!

>> dr. martin macneill, panic in his voice, had struggled to make the 911 operator understand.

>> i need help!

>> they are on their way. is your wife breathing?

>> she is not. i'm a physician. i have cpr in progress.

>> sir, how old is your wife?

>> my wife is 50 years old. she just had surgery a week ago.

>> what kind of surgery did she have?

>> a facelift.

>> she had a facelift?

>> yes.

>> do you know how to do cpr ?

>> i am doing it!

>> okay, do not hang --

>> martin performed cpr on his wife until the first responders arrived, but it was too late.

>> i called alexis . i said, alexis , what's happened? something's happened with mom. and i said, mom's dead, isn't she? and alexis said, yes, she is.

>> martin said he left the house early in the morning for work. later in the morning, he accepted an award at a safety fair and then left the office to pick up 6-year-old daughter ada from school. when they got home, ada rushed up the stairs to see her mother and found her in the bathtub unresponsive.

>> it was horrifying. i mean, this was my mom, a vibe vibrant, healthy woman who was just ripped out of the world.

>> what happened? michele was a young 50, didn't drink, didn't smoke. she was carrying more weight than she wanted to but the only thing out of the ordinary was the surgery she had just had.

>> i wasn't concerned about the health aspect of her doing the facelift. i just didn't think she needed it.

>> so, if a complication from the surgery seemed unlikely, perhaps this theory from martin made more sense. maybe michele had taken too much pain medication and while running a bath fell headfirst into the tub.

>> he said she was slumped over the tub. her head down into the water and her legs out of the water.

>> but something about that didn't sound right to alexis . for one thing, 6-year-old ada who also saw her mother in the tub had a slightly different memory.

>> she said that she saw her laying back, her head by the faucet.

>> facing up?

>> fully up and in the jogging suit.

>> not hard to explain given the turmoil of that day. but then alexis remembered how after the facelift michele 's doctor prescribed hydrocordone and promethazine and valium. to alexis , that seemed like too much medication.

>> he told the plastic surgeon what medication he wanted predescribpr prescribed to her.

>> isn't the physician that usually prescribes the medication?

>> that was strange.

>> after michele died, when alexis went looking for those pills, asked her dad about them.

>> where were they?

>> he told me, oh, the police must have taken them. but i later found out that he had my brother and his girlfriend flush them down the toilet and throw the bottles away and his reasoning for that, he told them that it made him too sad looking at -- having her medication there.

>> very unpleasant thoughts rattled around in alexis ' head and then there was the business of the funeral.

>> my father was very adamant to have the funeral right away.

>> and at the funeral, said his daughters, martin talked less about his wife of nearly 30 years than he did about himself.

>> i felt i was doing a good job. as the hours passed last night, the answer came to me. i've had such a good life.

>> alexis and rachel were appalled by that and angry. but even as they pondered what to do with their blossoming suspicion, the autopsy results were released. and the police chief michael smith the results seemed crystal clear .

>> the medical examiner's report indicated that michele had died of myocarditis and hypertension and it listed it as a natural cause of death .

>> in other words, it was classic heart disease , a cause of death all too common among women michele 's age, especially someone with high blood pressure . the daughter's suspicions, it turns out, were not based on palpable facts. the drug levels were therapeutic levels. as far as the state of utah was concerned, the matter was closed.

>> the medical examiner in the state of utah is the ultimate say when it comes to the cause and the manner of death.

>> the tension in the macneill family worsened. martin and alexis disagreed over how to care for the younger children now that michele was gone.

>> he started saying, i'm going to get a nanny. you need a nanny. i can't take care of these kids by myself.