Man blames cough medicine after wife murdered in North Carolina home


Matthew Phelps/ CNN Newsource

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RALEIGH, NC. — Less than a year after hosting their wedding, a Wake Forest church hosted funeral services Monday for a woman whose husband is now accused of her murder.

Lauren Hugelmaier Phelps frequently volunteered to work with the children at Hope Lutheran Church. She married Matthew Phelps there in November 2016.

Her obituary identifies her by her maiden name and makes no mention of Phelps.

He will make his first court appearance Tuesday, about 24 hours after her memorial service ended. Police arrested Phelps early Friday morning and he spent the weekend in the Wake County Detention Center with no bond.

The 28-year-old told a 911 dispatcher believes he killed his wife but was not aware of what happened. He blamed cough medicine for a loss of consciousness.

“I had a dream and then I turned on the lights and she’s dead on the floor,” Phelps said during the 911 call.

“I have (dried) blood all over me and there’s a bloody knife on the bed and I think I did it.”

Phelps told the dispatcher he took more Coracidin HBP Cough and Cold than he should have. The over-the-counter medicine is for people with high blood pressure.

“I know it can make you feel good and a lot of the time I can’t sleep at night so I took some,” Phelps said.

He said he didn’t know when he took the medicine or what happened next. He said he was unaware of what time it was when he woke up or when he called 911, but quickly answered the dispatcher’s questions about their address and his wife’s age, 29.

Phelps cried during the call and voiced sadness about her death.

“She totally didn’t deserve this. Why? Why,” he said.

The dispatcher talked Phelps into opening the front door as officers arrived, and he surrendered into their custody. Paramedics tried to save Hugelmaier but could not.

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