The parents and sister of a North Carolina woman whose husband brutally stabbed her to death last year have spoken out about their loss in a new television interview.
“I think about it every day. What I did wrong. What I missed. Till this day I just regret not knowing or keeping my eyes open and watching,” Dale Hugelmaier said of his daughter’s death during a Wednesday interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America” alongside his wife and older daughter. “I just took everything as is.”
Mother Laurie Hugelmaier cried as she told ABC News’ Paula Faris that she wished she could hold her one more time.
Their daughter, Lauren Phelps, died in her Raleigh, North Carolina home in Sept. 2017 after being stabbed 123 times by her husband Matthew Phelps. The 30-year-old aspiring pastor pleaded guilty to first-degree murder earlier this month after maintaining for more than a year that his actions were a result of his taking too much cold medicine the night before.
“I had a dream, and then I turned on the lights and she’s dead on the floor,” Phelps said in the 911 call he made the night of the killing. “I have blood all over me and there’s a bloody knife on the bed and I think I did it. I can’t believe this.”
However, her father said his family knew that excuse was bogus, adding that they suspected something was wrong with Lauren in the weeks leading up to her death.
“He planned the whole thing from the get-go in my opinion, right from day one to the end,” Dale Hugelmaier said. “The last time I saw my daughter…She was nervous and a little edgy and it didn’t look like Lauren at all…She looked a mess.”
The family also told the program that Lauren and Matthew Phelps’ marriage had been tumultuous and plagued by financial issues before the murder — Matthew Phelps reportedly had a worrisome spending streak when it came to video games, according to WRAL.
Additionally, Beth Agner revealed that she spoke with her younger sister the night she died; Lauren was allegedly planning to leave her husband over suspicions he was cheating on her.
“I think that he made a decision that day that Lauren was not gonna leave him, even if that meant he had to kill her,” she told ABC.
Agner also claimed that the authorities who dealt with the case were also repulsed by Matthew Phelps’ actions.
“The police called him a monster. And we're talking about homicide detectives who see homicides every day,” she said.
Besides video games, Matthew Phelps also appeared to have an obsession with the movie “American Psycho” and its murderous and delusional antagonist, Patrick Bateman.
Matthew Phelps has been sentenced to life in prison and apologized for taking his wife’s life.
But Dale Hugelmaier told ABC that the punishment has done little to change how he views Phelps and said he'll never forgive his one-time son-in-law for taking his daughter away.
"Never," he told ABC News. "I mean, I'll take him to my grave. And I'll still hate him."
[Photo Credit: Raleigh Police Department]
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