Man Charged With Killing After He Claims He Woke From a Dream to Find His Wife’s Body

According to the 911 call, he took DXM-containing Coricidin before sleeping
September 4, 2017 Updated: September 4, 2017

A man told a 911 dispatcher that he awoke from a dream and found his wife dead.

“I think I killed my…,” 28-year-old Matthew Phelps said in a 911 call. He was charged by police in Raleigh, North Carolina after he made the emergency call on Friday.

“There’s blood all over me,” he said, while detailing an alleged murder weapon.

He woke from a dream with blood on him along with a bloodied knife in his hands.

Lauren Ashley-Nicole Phelps, 29, was found dead, officials said. Phelps was then taken into custody.

“I can’t believe I did this,” Phelps told the dispatcher in the recording released to the public. “Oh God. She didn’t deserve this. Why?”

(Video via Newsobserver)

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

According to their Facebook pages, the two had been married for less than a year.

“Do you think she is beyond any help?” a dispatcher asked. “I think so. I’m too scared to get close to her,” Phelps responded.

Phelps said he took an over-the-counter drug before going to sleep.

“I took more medicine than I should have. I took Coricidin Cough and Cold because I know it can make you feel good and sometimes I can’t sleep at night,” he told the dispatcher.

Incident Puts Cough Drug in Spotlight

Coricidin HBP Cough & Cold—sometimes known as CCC, “Red Devils,” “candy,” or “Skittles”—contains the dissociative hallucinogenic DXM, or dextromethorphan, which is used as a cough suppressant in lower doses.

In higher doses, dextromethorphan (also used in other cough drugs like Robitussin, NyQuil, and Dimetapp) can produce dissociative hallucinogenic states similar to ketamine (Special-K) and phencyclidine (PCP). Sometimes the drug is called “poor man’s PCP.”

But Coricidin has other drugs than just dextromethorphan—including chlorpheniramine maleate, aspirin, acetaminophen, and pseudoephedrine, which can cause a slew of side-effects. 

According to numerous accounts published online, taking too many Coricidin pills can result in death or, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health (NIH), “acute psychosis.”

“When used at recommended doses, they are safe and effective agents with minimal adverse effects. However, at higher doses, typically as a result of recreational abuse, dextromethorphan and chlorpheniramine are capable of inducing a specific toxidrome that includes various psychiatric sequelae such as euphoria, agitation, psychoses, dissociative phenomena, and, rarely, dependence,” according to the NIH.

In one instance, the NIH details, a man was sent to intensive care due to “acute psychosis” and irritability after “exhibiting bizarre behavior after he had purchased and rapidly ingested about 30 tablets of Coricidin HBP.”

The man stated that he could “‘look at people and know exactly what they were thinking’ and displayed paranoid behavior. He had abused Coricidin HBP ‘to get high’ off and on for the past several weeks,” the report stated.

(Screenshot)
(A picture of the cough medicine)

Phelps doesn’t have a criminal record, state records show, reported The News & Observer.

According to his Facebook page, he worked at a lawn mowing service.