A Utah woman who wrote a children’s book about coping with grief following the death of her husband has been charged with murder, according to court documents obtained by KTLA sister station KTVX.
Kouri Richins was arrested on May 8 in Summit County for aggravated murder and three counts of possession of drugs with intent to distribute, court records show.
The alleged murder occurred on March 3, 2022, a day before Richins’ husband, Eric Richins, died “unexpectedly,” per his obituary.
He and Kouri were married for nine years and had three young sons together.
According to court documents, Eric was found dead at the foot of his bed in the early morning hours of March 4, 2022. Kouri allegedly told authorities she had made him an alcoholic beverage and brought it to their room where he drank it.
Kouri said that shortly after, she went to put one of her children to bed and fell asleep. She told police she woke up around 3 a.m. and felt that Eric was cold to the touch, and called 911.
She claimed that she left her phone plugged in inside her bedroom while she was with her child but investigators said the phone’s records showed it was locked and unlocked multiple times, and there was movement on the phone. There were also several messages sent and received during this time window, but those messages were deleted.
Following an autopsy, it was determined that Eric died from an overdose of illicit fentanyl. The medical examiner said the amount of fentanyl in his system, ingested orally, was approximately five times the lethal dosage.
Authorities said they obtained a search warrant after Eric’s autopsy and seized multiple devices of Kouri’s. While reviewing those, investigators allegedly found Kouri had contacted someone to get prescription pain medications.
Two weeks later, Kouri reached out to the same friend and asked if she could get something stronger — “some of the Michael Jackson stuff,” Kouri stated. She specifically asked her friend for fentanyl. The friend allegedly gave Kouri 15 to 20 fentanyl pills.
After a Valentine’s Day meal, court docs say Eric told a friend he became ill and thought Kouri was trying to poison him. Two weeks later, Kouri allegedly asked for more fentanyl pills.
Eric was found dead six days later, according to court documents.
Kouri Richins met with KTVX’s Good Things Utah last month to speak about the book she wrote to help kids deal with grief. The book focuses on how to cope with the loss of a loved one and was released after Eric’s death.
Kouri said she wrote the book because she needed a distraction and a way to channel her family’s feelings.
“My husband passed away unexpectedly last year,” Kouri told Good Things Utah. “It completely took us all by shock.”
Her next hearing is scheduled for May 19.