Four days before she was shot to death inside her Robbinsdale home Friday allegedly by her ex-husband, Lauri Deatherage was celebrating her new marriage to a fellow Air Force veteran with whom she reunited after decades apart.
Her grieving widower, Billy Deatherage, said Sunday that he met his wife 30 years ago while stationed at the Air Force base in Grand Forks. They reconnected as friends about four years ago and he proposed this spring. They married June 13, the same day as her 48th birthday. "I'll never forget the anniversary!" she wrote on Facebook.
Deatherage, 53, said in the wake of the tragedy he's a "train wreck."
"Our time was cut short by an atrocious act," he said. "We had been married less than one week before she was taken away from me."
Authorities on Sunday identified Deatherage; her 64-year-old ex-husband remains in the Hennepin County jail pending murder charges. The Star Tribune generally does not identify suspects not yet charged.
Police were called to Deatherage's home in the 3400 block of Grimes Avenue N. to do a welfare check at 9:15 a.m. Friday. After finding her body, officers tracked her ex-husband to his Brooklyn Center home in the 6200 block of Unity Avenue, where a 10-hour standoff ensued. Negotiators from several agencies contacted him via phone before he surrendered about 9 p.m.
Lauri Deatherage, formerly known as Lauri McCloud, planned to move to Arkansas to be with her new husband after closing on her home.
"She would've been relocating with me," Billy Deatherage said from inside the home where he said he wishes he would've been the day she was fatally shot.
Civil court records show she finalized a divorce with the suspect about three years ago. Lauri Deatherage is classified as a medically retired disabled veteran. Billy said she served in the early 1990s and spent the past 20 years designing costumes for the Minnesota Renaissance Festival.
He described his wife as an artist, seamstress and sister. She took up professional modeling at one point in her life, he said, and often took people under her wing and into her home who were struggling.
"Lauri was loved by literally hundreds and hundreds of people and she touched so many lives in so many positive ways," he said. "She was a good soul."
Star Tribune staff writer Paul Walsh contributed to this report.
Kim Hyatt • 612-673-4751