SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — After her husband died last year, she wrote a children’s book on grief. Now she’s charged with murder in his death.
Kouri Richins, 33, was arrested Monday and is accused in charging documents of poisoning her husband with a lethal dose of fentanyl at their home in Kamas, a small mountain town near Park City.
The murder charges come months after Richins self-published “Are you with me?” — an illustrated storybook about a young boy wondering about his father’s presence in his life after the father dies.
Prosecutors allege Richins called authorities in the middle of the night in March 2022 to report that her husband, Eric Richins, was “cold to the touch.” She told officers she had made her husband a mixed drink to celebrate him selling a home. She then went to soothe one of their children to sleep in the next bedroom. She later returned and, upon finding her husband unresponsive, called 911.
A medical examiner later found five times the lethal dosage of fentanyl in his system.
In addition to the murder charge, Richins also faces charges involving the alleged possession of GHB — a narcolepsy drug frequently used in recreational settings, including at dance clubs.
The charges are based on officers’ interactions with Richins that night and the account of an “unnamed acquaintance” who claims to have sold her the fentanyl. The acquaintance told investigators they sold Richins the opioid hydrocodone once and fentanyl twice — in February and March 2022.
The charging documents allege Richins deleted text messages from the night of her husband’s death before handing her phone over to investigators and may have tried to poison her husband on Valentine’s Day, a month before his death.
“Shortly after their dinner, Eric became very ill. Eric believed that he had been poisoned. Eric told a friend that he thought his wife was trying to poison him,” investigators wrote, referring to the Valentine’s Day incident.
Richins’ attorney, Skye Lazaro, declined to comment on the charges.
In Richins’ book, the boy wonders if his father, who has died, notices his goals at a soccer game, his nerves on the first day of school or the presents he found under a Christmas tree.
“Yes, I am with you,” an angel wing-clad father figure wearing a trucker hat responds. “I am with you when you scored that goal … I am with you when you walk the halls … I’m here and we’re together.”
Richins told local media she decided to write “Are you with me?” after her husband unexpectedly died last year, leaving her widowed and raising three boys. She said she looked for materials for children on grieving loved ones and found few resources, so decided to create her own. She planned to write sequels.