In September 2017, life changed drastically for Dale and Laurie Hugelmaier; their newlywed daughter was murdered in the middle of the night by none other than her husband. The news shook them to their core with horror and heartbreak.
Lauren Phelps, 29, died after being stabbed 123 times by her husband, Matthew, 29. Lauren and Matthew had gotten married just 10 months before the tragedy and were believed to be going through troubling times financially. During one September night, Matthew called 911 to let them know that “his wife was dead” and “he thought he did it.”
During the 911 call, Matthew is breathing heavily as he confesses that “he has blood all over him” and “there’s a bloody knife on the bed.” He was arrested and on October 5th, he pled guilty to first- degree murder of his wife.
Now, more than a year later, Lauren’s family is finally speaking out about the tragic loss of their daughter. Lauren’s parents, Dale and Laurie, sat down with Good Morning America for an emotional interview.
Dale believes that his daughter was always at risk being married to Matthew. During the interview, he revealed, “He planned the whole thing from the get-go in my opinion, right from day one to the end.” Dale also recalled the last time he saw his daughter. During the interview, he remorsefully shared, “The last time I saw my daughter, she came over looking for a three-ring binder. She was nervous and a little edgy and it didn't look Lauren at all. ... She looked a mess…I regret it now, that I didn't ask questions about what was going on.”
Dale and Laura were concerned for their daughter, especially in the final months. The Daily Mail reports that during the final two months of Lauren’s life, she learned that her husband had physically assaulted his ex-wife. Lauren’s parents revealed that their daughter was also abused- both physically and emotionally.
During the interview, he remorsefully shared, “The last time I saw my daughter, she came over looking for a three-ring binder. She was nervous and a little edgy and it didn't look Lauren at all. ... She looked a mess…I regret it now, that I didn't ask questions about what was going on.” He also admitted that he thinks, “What I did wrong. What I missed?” He then added, “Till this day I just regret not knowing or keeping my eyes open and watching,' he said. 'I just took everything as is.”
Lauren’s sister, Beth, also opened up saying that she believed her sister was going to leave Matthew but he made it so she wouldn’t even have the option to leave him. Lauren and Matthew were reportedly fighting the day that he murdered her. The fight was believed to be about Matthew’s alleged cheating- a topic that has yet to be fully revealed.
Beth added that she had spoken with her little sister just moments before she was murdered. During the last couple of hours of her life, Beth confessed that she was planning on leaving Matthew. Beth said, “That night, Matthew left with another woman and Lauren said, “I’m done. I can’t do it.”
Lauren’s family wrapped up the long and emotional interview with heartbreak that was entirely tangible. The interviewer asked Dale and Laura if there was anything they would want to say to their daughter. Dale shared, “I'm sorry I let you down, I should have seen it. But I ain't going to let the rest of them down anymore. Laura shared through tears, “I wish I could hold her.”