Aspiring Pastor Accused of Killing Wife in His Sleep Appears to Blames Cold Medicine: 'I Can't Believe I Did This'
Matthew Phelps allegedly told the 911 dispatcher that cold medicine may have led him to stabbing his wife Lauren to death
A 28-year-old North Carolina man is facing a murder charge after allegedly stabbing his wife in bed — but the newlywed claims he doesn’t remember carrying out the alleged crime because he might have done it in his sleep, PEOPLE confirms.
Matthew Phelps, of Raleigh, called police distraught early Friday morning, declaring that his wife, Lauren, was dead on their bedroom floor covered in blood.
“I had a dream and then I turned on the lights and she’s dead on the floor,” he says in a 911 call obtained by PEOPLE. “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.”
He told the dispatcher through tears that his wife wasn’t breathing and that he was afraid to get close to her — “I’m so scared,” he said.
Phelps is charged with murder and is being held at Wake County Detention Center without bail, a jail spokesperson tells PEOPLE. As police work to determine the circumstances around Lauren’s death, Phelps suggested during the 911 call that cold medicine he took the night before might have led to his alleged actions.
“I took more medicine than I should have,” he said. “I took Coricidin Cough and Cold because I know it can make you feel good. A lot of times I can’t sleep at night. So, I took some.”
He added: “Oh my God. She didn’t deserve this.”
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Phelps and Lauren had been married for less than a year, ABC News reports. Both of their apparent Facebook pages are filled with wedding photos of the young couple along with pictures that show their shared love for Star Wars.
Phelps’ account shows that he studied missions and evangelism at Clear Creek Baptist Bible College. Lauren was a Sunday school teacher and Phelps was studying to be a pastor, a friend told ABC.
Now, in the wake of the killing, a YouCaring fundraiser has been set up for Lauren’s grieving family. Meanwhile, those who knew Lauren shared memories of the young woman on her Facebook page.
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“I am in disbelief. She was one of the purest souls one could ever meet,” one person wrote. “Her kind heart and sweet nature are an extremely rare find. She was a great friend to anyone lucky enough to call her one.”
Another person wrote in a Facebook post: “I miss you a lot. I can’t seem to stop thinking about you. Doesn’t seem to really matter where I am or what I’m doing. when I got the call I just couldn’t believe it. I wanted it to be a bad joke. I still do. The past couple of days I’ve just spent in shock.”
A memorial service is scheduled or Monday, according to an update on Lauren’s page.
Phelps is expected to appear in court on Tuesday, the jail spokesperson says. It is unclear if he has entered a plea or retained an attorney.