Investigators initially believed the death of Michele MacNeill in 2007 was due to a heart condition, but further investigation revealed he was carrying on an affair with Willis. He submitted documents claiming they were married on the day of his wife’s funeral, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. His daughters fought for justice in the case, and he was convicted of murder and obstruction of justice in 2013. Willis was sentenced to time in prison for identity theft, according to ABC News.
ABC 20/20 is revisiting the case in an encore episode, “The Perfect Nanny.” It airs Friday, August 27, 2021 at 9 p.m. Eastern time.
Here’s what you need to know:
MacNeill’s Daughter Uncovered an Affair By Going Through Her Father’s Phone Records
Alexis Somers, the daughter of Martin and Michele MacNeill, logged into her father’s phone and printed out his phone records soon before her mother’s death, Somers told ABC News. Her mother was suspicious of her husband’s behavior, and Somers checked his phone while he slept. She said she found he had multiple phone calls with Gypsy Jillian Willis.
The first time Somers heard her dad refer to the woman was on the day of her mother’s funeral.
“He said ‘Oh, I found the perfect nanny.’ And I said, ‘What’s her name?’ And he said, ‘Oh, I think it’s, I think it’s Jillian?’ And I said ‘Dad? Gypsy Jillian Willis?’” Somers remembered. “I said, ‘I know that woman. I know mom was worried you were having an affair with her and you are not to bring her in the home.’”
Willis told City Weekly she saw Martin MacNeill in court in 2012 for the first time since 2009. She said he appeared much older and thinner.
“I would look at him and remember our life together. I don’t think anyone could do that and not feel something,” she said. “Most of it is just sorrow that it didn’t work, that people were hurt, that we were in these circumstances. But I loved Martin, and I don’t think that was a bad thing.”
Willis & Martin MacNeill Met Online & She Said She Knew He Was Married
Willis told ABC News about the beginning of her relationship with Martin MacNeill. She said the two met online, and that she knew he was married.
“We met online. He sent me a message,” Willis told ABC News in 2013. “He asked me what I knew about quantum physics… There was just instant chemistry. He was tall, he was handsome, he was very well spoken.”
She said she “wasn’t looking for anything serious,” so she was unconcerned about his marriage.
“He told me that he had a perfect life. That he had a perfect wife,” she told ABC News.
A Facebook page listing Willis’ full name says she is living in Salt Lake City, Utah. The page is largely private, but it lists a series of her favorite quotes.
One says, “Mistakes are like bad loves, the more you learn from them, the more you wish they’d never happened.”