The father of a woman who was stabbed to death by her husband, who then blamed the fatal attack on cold medicine, wishes he'd asked more questions.
Matthew Phelps was arrested last year after calling 911 to report he'd woken up to find his wife, Lauren, covered in blood at their Raleigh, North Carolina, home. Earlier this month, Phelps, an aspiring pastor, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in her death and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Lauren's family now says she was the victim of abuse by her husband, and they wish they'd seen the signs before her death.
“I think about it every day," Lauren's dad, Dale Hugelmaier, told "Good Morning America." "What I did wrong. What I missed. Till this day, I just regret not knowing or keeping my eyes open and watching."
Hugelmaier said the last day he saw his daughter alive, she seemed "edgy" and "nervous."
"It didn't look like Lauren at all," he said. "She looked a mess."
The family spoke out to encourage others to watch for signs of domestic violence.
Beth Agner, the victim's sister, said she believes Lauren Phelps was ready to leave her husband.
“I think that he made a decision ... that Lauren was not gonna leave him, even if that meant he had to kill her,” Agner said.
Phelps' distraught 911 call earned nationwide attention after he seemed to confess to Lauren's murder and pointed the finger at cold medicine.
When the dispatcher asked what happened, Phelps replied, “I had a dream. And then I turned on the lights and she’s dead on the floor. I have blood all over me and there’s a bloody knife on the bed and I think I did it."
He added: “I took more medicine than I should have. I took Coricidin Cough & Cold because I know it can make you feel good and sometimes I can’t sleep at night."
While Phelps has the appearance of the perfect husband in real life, he showed a different side online, writing of dark obsessions and "evil" in his head.
When asked by "GMA" if he could forgive Phelps, Hugelmaier said: “No. Never. I mean, I'll take him to my grave. And I'll still hate him."