Home Emergency Utah mom who wrote a children's book on grief after her husband...

Utah mom who wrote a children’s book on grief after her husband died is now charged with murdering him

A Utah mother who wrote a children’s book about how to cope with grief after her husband’s death last year is accused of poisoning him with a lethal dose of fentanyl after serving him a celebratory Moscow Mule.

Kouri Richins, 33, was taken into custody on Monday on charges of aggravated murder, and three counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. Her attorneys did not immediately return a request for comment on Tuesday.

Richins’ husband, Eric Richins, died at their Kamas home, about 40 miles southeast of Salt Lake City, on March 4, 2022. Summit County sheriff’s deputies responded to the home after Richins called 911 to report finding him unresponsive in their bedroom, according to a probable cause statement.

Kouri Richins.KPCW.org via AP

Deputies found Eric Richins on the floor at the foot of the bed, the document stated. Lifesaving measures were attempted but he was declared dead.

Days before his death, Kouri Richins asked an acquaintance for fentanyl, saying she wanted “the Michael Jackson stuff,” according to the court documents. (Jackson died in 2009 at his Los Angeles home after receiving a lethal dose of propofol.)

Richins told investigators that the night before her husband died, the couple was celebrating because she had closed on a home for her business, the document stated. She said that she made him a Moscow Mule in the kitchen, brought it to the bedroom and he drank it while sitting in bed, the statement said.

She told investigators, according to the document, that she slept in one of her children’s bedrooms because the child had a night terror. She allegedly woke up around 3 a.m. and found that her husband was in their bedroom “cold to the touch.”

Richins told deputies that she had left her cellphone in her bedroom and did not take it to her child’s room. Investigators later learned that her phone had been locked and unlocked several times and showed movement during the timeframe she said she was in her child’s room, according to the probable cause statement. There were text messages sent and received that had been deleted, it said.

At the time of his death, the only people in the home were the couple and their three young sons, it said.

A year after her husband’s death, Richins published a book titled “Are You With Me?” to “create peace and comfort for children who have lost a loved one,” according to a description on Amazon. It said that the book will help reassure children that although their loved one “is not present, their presence always exist and they walk through life with you as if they were here.”

In the 41-page book, a boy questions whether his father is with him when he’s sad or mad and if he’s with him for special occasions: at his soccer game when he scores, his birthday, at Christmas and when he starts his first day of school.

The father assures the boy that he is there for all of those moments.

Kouri Richins dedicated the book to “my amazing husband and a wonderful father.” It has since been removed from Amazon.

In an April interview with ABC affiliate KTVX of Salt Lake City, Richins discussed her book and her husband’s death, which she said happened “unexpectedly.”

“It took us all by shock. My kids and I kind of wrote this book on the different emotions and grieving processes that we experienced last year, hoping that it can kind of help other kids deal with this and find happiness some way or another,” she told KTVX reporters.

She went on to talk about how she would tell her children that their “dad is still here, just in a different way.” Richins said she wrote the book after seeing how her children struggled with their father’s death.

The news station updated its story Tuesday to say that it was not aware Richins was suspected in her husband’s murder.

In a Facebook post last week, she posted a video collage of her husband and children and wrote in the caption that life has been hard without him.

“The cards I have been dealt seems like a game that just can’t be played,” she posted, adding the hashtag “pleasecomehome.”

Investigators said that an autopsy and toxicology report found that Eric Richins died from a fentanyl overdose, according to the probable cause statement. The medical examiner said he had five times the lethal dosage of fentanyl in his system and that it was “illicit” fentanyl and not medical grade. It’s also believed that he ingested the drugs orally, according to the probable cause.

Authorities accused Richins of obtaining the fentanyl pills from an acquaintance identified as “C.L,” the probable cause statement said. They also alleged that Eric Richins had told a friend that he believed his wife had tried to poison him following a Valentine’s Day dinner, weeks before he died.

A search warrant obtained by investigators showed several communications on Kouri Richins’ phone between her and the acquaintance, the document stated.

The acquaintance, who had multiple drug charges, told investigators that Richins had reached out to them from December 2021 to February 2022 and asked for “prescription pain medication for an investor who had a back injury,” the probable cause stated.

“Within a few days, C.L. procured hydrocodone pills from a dealer. Defendant told C.L. to leave the pills at a house defendant was flipping in Midway. C.L. left the pills at the house and defendant left cash for C.L.,” it alleged.

The acquaintance got 15 to 30 fentanyl pills and delivered them to Richins, who paid $900 for the drugs. Three days later, on Feb. 14, 2022, Eric Richins became ill after having a Valentine’s Day dinner at home with his wife, according to the document.

“Eric believed that he had been poisoned. Eric told a friend that he thought his wife was trying to poison him,” investigators wrote.

“About two weeks later, defendant contacted C.L. again and said that her investor wanted something stronger and asked for ‘some of the Michael Jackson stuff.’ The defendant asked specifically for fentanyl,” according to the probable cause statement.

She again paid $900 for the drugs, it said. Days later, her husband was dead.

The sheriff’s office declined to answer questions about the case, saying that it is being handled by the Summit County Attorney’s Office. Margret Olson, the county attorney, said her office won’t be making statements on the matter.

“Please keep in mind there are three young children belonging to the decedent and the accused, making this matter very sensitive and difficult,” she said in an email.

A detention hearing is scheduled for May 19.

Most Popular

Borderlands: Texas seaport completes $146M container terminal expansion

Borderlands is a weekly rundown of developments in the world of United States-Mexico cross-border trucking and trade. This week: Texas seaport completes a $146...

Aaron Judge breaks through Dodger Stadium fence after insane running catch

Aaron Judge is without a doubt one of the best hitters on the planet, but that's all he does.It turns out the guy is...

Joran van der Sloot, key suspect in Natalee Holloway disappearance, moved to new prison ahead of extradition to U.S.

LIMA, Peru — The chief suspect in the unsolved 2005 disappearance of American student Natalee Holloway is being transferred to a prison near Peru’s...

‘Don’t want to live life anymore without confessing’: Man confesses to killing landlord 15 years ago, police recordings show

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Police officers found Tony Peralta earlier this month sitting on a curb not far from the convenience store in a small...