Along with the investigation of Brenda and Erica Lafferty’s murders, FX on Hulu’s crime series ‘Under the Banner of Heaven’ follows the personal lives of the Laffertys, especially Dan. The limited series offers a detailed look at Dan’s married life with Matilda, whom he married after getting acquainted during a two-year mission to Scotland. Matilda, a divorced mother of two girls, became a part of the Lafferty family after marrying Dan. As the series concludes by depicting the hardships Matilda suffers as a wife and mother, one must be eager to know more about what really happened to her in real life. Well, let us share our findings!
What Happened to Matilda Lafferty?
After Dan and Matilda’s marriage, the couple spent some years in California and eventually settled in Utah. As the show depicts, Dan and Matilda’s life together started to become troubled when the former started to dive into Mormon fundamentalism. According to Jon Krakauer’s eponymous book, the source text of the show, Dan applied his fundamentalist beliefs to his family comprised of Matilda, Matilda’s two daughters from a previous marriage, and four children she conceived with Dan. His transformation from a typical Mormon to a fundamentalist rewrote Matilda’s fate. She was restricted from driving, handling money, etc.
Dan’s new rules were hard for Matilda to follow. Dan was against the use of gas and electricity, watches and clocks, and outside food. Krakauer’s book states that Matilda got spanked by her husband when she disobeyed him. He even warned her that she would be forced out of the marriage without her children if she continued to disobey him. As per Krakauer’s book, Matilda’s life took a turn for the worse when Dan announced his wish to marry his stepdaughter, Matilda’s eldest daughter, to practice polygamy. However, he didn’t go along with the plan and instead married a Romanian immigrant named Ann Randak.
According to Rebecca Lafferty, Dan’s daughter, Matilda even tried to encourage Dan to marry again so that she could leave him. On July 23, 1984, Dan visited Matilda and their children since it was the birthday of their youngest son. The next day, he joined his brother Ron to kill Brenda and Erica.
Where is Matilda Lafferty Now?
Matilda has chosen to keep her life private, especially after the widespread attention Dan received due to Brenda and Erica’s murders. As per reports, Matilda got separated from Dan by the time of the murders. During Ron Lafferty’s 1996 trial, Matilda talked about her relationship with Dan. “I had come to a place there was no choices. I could either go and leave my kids, or stay and accept it,” she said in her testimony, as per Krakauer’s book. As per Matilda, the initial years of their married life were “extremely happy and hopeful.” “And then it just disintegrated… I would dream of him dying so I could get out,” she added.
At the time of Brenda and Erica’s murders, she stayed in a house in Salem, Utah, with her children. In the early 2000s, Dan’s oldest son visited him in prison. Rebecca had revealed that she had visited her father in prison as well. However, it is not certain whether Matilda ever saw Dan again after his conviction and imprisonment.