A CHILDREN’S author who wrote stories to cope with the loss of her husband has been charged with his murder a year after his death.
Mother-of-three Kouri Richins, 33, was charged Monday with aggravated murder and possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute.
An investigation into the death of Eric Richins began March 4, 2022, when Summit County deputies arrived at the family’s Utah home around 3.20am after a man was reported to be unresponsive.
Eric Richins was found at the foot of his bed and was declared dead at the scene by officials after efforts to save him had failed.
His wife was interviewed by instigators, telling them that the couple was celebrating the closing on a house for her business the night before.
Kouri Richins said she made her husband a Moscow Mule and gave it to him in bed.
The only people in the house at the time were Eric, Kouri, and their children, said investigators.
Richins added that one of her children had a night terror so she decided to sleep with them that night but returned to her bedroom at 3am and found Eric’s body cold to the touch.
Investigators said they were told by Richins that she left her phone in her bedroom and didn’t have it with her in her child’s room that night, however, detectives learned that her phone was opened several times during those hours.
Evidence also suggested that Richins sent and received messages through her phone that were allegedly deleted.
An autopsy determined that Eric died of an overdose after finding five times the lethal dosage of fentanyl in his system.
The medical examiner concluded that the drug had been ingested orally.
Detectives said they found communication between Richins and a person that had been previously charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute.
The two had reportedly been texting one another between December 2021 and February 2022.
Richins had asked for prescription pain medication, claiming that one of her investors had a back injury. She received hydrocodone pills in return.
About two weeks later, Richins said that her investor wanted something stronger and asked for “some of the Michael Jackson stuff,” asking for fentanyl.
Days after she received the drug, on Valentine’s Day 2022, Richins and Eric had dinner in which he “became very ill,” read a probable cause statement.
“Eric believed that he had been poisoned,” the statement continued. “Eric told a friend that he thought his wife was trying to poison him.”
Richins reportedly asked for more fentanyl and allegedly contacted another drug dealer on February 26, 2022. Eric was found dead days later.
Following her husband’s death, Richins wrote the children’s book, Are You With Me?
She appeared in a segment called Good Things Utah, explaining that she wrote the book to help children cope with the loss of a loved one.
Richins described her husband’s death as unexpected and that it deeply impacted her and her three boys.
She said grieving was about “making sure that their spirit is always alive in your home.”
“It’s – you know – explaining to my kid just because he’s not present here with us physically, doesn’t mean his presence isn’t here with us,” she told local ABC affiliate KTVX.
The dedication section of Richins’ book reads: “Dedicated to my amazing husband and a wonderful father.”