Kamas, UT – A mother-of-three who wrote a children’s book about how to work through grief after the death of her husband has been arrested for allegedly murdering him with a massive dose of fentanyl.
Kouri Richins, 33, appeared on “Good Things Utah” in April to promote her newly-published book, “Are You With Me?”
Kouri Richins said during the interview that her husband, 39-year-old Eric Richins, died unexpectedly one year ago, leaving behind her and their sons, ages six, nine, and 10, KTVX reported.
She said her husband’s death “completely took [them] all by shock.”
In an effort to help her family cope with their loss, Kouri Richins said, she penned the children’s book with the help of her kids, KTVX reported.
“Just because he’s not present here with us physically, that doesn’t mean his presence isn’t here with us,” she said in the interview. “Dad is still here, it’s just in a different way.”
“My kids and I kind of wrote this book on the different emotions and grieving processes that we’ve experienced last year,” Kouri Richins added, according to ABC News. “[I am] hoping it can kind of help other kids deal with this and kind of find happiness some way or another.”
She dedicated the book to her “amazing husband and a wonderful father,” according to ABC News.
About one month after her television appearance, on May 8, she was charged with murdering her husband of nearly nine years by allegedly poisoning him with a massive dose of illegally-obtained, non-medical-grade fentanyl, The New York Times reported.
According to charging documents, Eric Richins was found dead at the foot of his bed on March 4, 2022, ABC News reported.
Investigators said Kouri Richins later told them she had made her husband “a Moscow Mule in the kitchen and brought it to their bedroom” in celebration of her having closed on a house for her business that day.
She said her husband “consumed [the drink] while sitting in bed,” court documents read.
Investigators said Kouri Richins told them one of their boys was having a nightmare, so she went to sleep in his room and returned to the room she and her husband shared at approximately 3 a.m., ABC News reported.
Kouri Richins (33) has been charged with the murder of her husband after she poisoned his beverage with Fentanyl on March 4, 2022. Before he died, Eric Richins told a friend that he thought his wife was trying to poison him. He had five times the lethal limit in his system. They… pic.twitter.com/VYJZy6EGMq
— Rose (@901Lulu) May 9, 2023
That’s when she allegedly found Eric Richins “cold to the touch,” court documents read.
According to an affidavit for a search warrant, Kouri Richins claimed she tried to perform CPR to save her husband, but first responders immediately questioned her account.
“[They] advised that it had not appeared that she had done any CPR, due to the large amount of blood that came from Eric’s mouth,” the affidavit read, according to ABC News.
An autopsy revealed Eric Richins died from a fentanyl overdose.
He had ingested five times the lethal dosage, which the medical examiner said had likely been consumed orally, court documents read.
The autopsy and toxicology findings spurred investigators to obtain a search warrant for the couple’s home and electronics, ABC News reported.
Although Kouri Richins had claimed she did not use her phone between the time she went to bed and the moment she called 911, investigators determined the device had been unlocked and locked several times during that period, prosecutors said.
Charging documents further alleged there were multiple messages that had been received and sent during that timeframe that had been deleted.
Investigators said they discovered Kouri Richins had multiple communications on her phone with an acquaintance who also had prior drug offenses, ABC News reported.
Detectives said they interviewed the unnamed acquaintance earlier in May, and that he claimed Kouri Richins sent him a text sometime between December of 2021 and February of 2022 in search of “prescription pain medication for an investor who had a back injury.”
The acquaintance allegedly told detectives he went to a home Kouri Richins owned and was renovating to sell and that he left hydrocodone pills there, ABC News reported.
She allegedly contacted him again about two weeks later, claiming that “her investor wanted something stronger and asked for ‘some of the Michael Jackson stuff,'” according to court documents.
Police said the acquaintance told them Kouri Richins specifically asked for fentanyl, and that he sold her between 15 and 30 fentanyl pills for $900 on Feb. 11, 2022, ABC News reported.
A Utah woman who wrote a children’s book about dealing with grief after her husband died last year was charged with his murder. Prosecutors say Kouri Richins spiked her husband's drink with 5 times the lethal dose of fentanyl and called authorities hours later. pic.twitter.com/0xrEMxEuIz
— Teresa Whitaker (@TVNewsTeresa) May 9, 2023
According to the charging document, Eric Richins fell ill after a Valentine’s Day dinner at home with his wife and later told a friend he believed she was trying to harm him.
“Eric told a friend that he thought his wife was trying to poison him,” the charging document read, according to ABC News.
He allegedly “broke into hives and couldn’t breathe” after taking just one bite of a sandwich she had given him that day, the search warrant indicated.
Investigators said Eric Richins took Benadryl, used an EpiPen, then fell unconscious, ABC News reported.
He “immediately called his business partner about the incident” when he awoke, according to the search warrant.
Charging documents alleged Kouri Richins contacted her acquaintance yet again about two weeks after the Valentine’s Day incident and asked for more fentanyl pills.
The acquaintance allegedly provided her with $900 worth of the drug on Feb. 26, 2022, police said.
“Six days later, on March 4, 2022, Eric was found dead of a fentanyl overdose,” court records said, according to ABC News.
Police said in the search warrant that several of Eric Richins family members told them they believed “his wife had something to do with his death.”
“They advised he warned them that if anything happened to him she was to blame,” the document read.
One of Eric Richins’ sisters allegedly told investigators she had received a call from her brother years ago while he was vacationing in Greece with his wife, the New York Post reported.
He allegedly told his sister that Kouri Richins had given him a drink that made him very ill, she said.
In January of 2022, Kouri Richins allegedly removed her husband’s business partner from his life insurance policy and made herself the sole beneficiary, police said.
Eric Richins and his business partner reversed the change after the insurance company notified them of what had taken place, ABC News reported.
Investigators also discovered Eric Richins had removed his wife from his life insurance and his will, and that he was considering filing for divorce “and wanted his kids taken care of,” ABC News reported.
Police further alleged the couple had been arguing over a $2 million property Kouri Richins wanted to buy and flip.
“The day after Eric’s death, his wife allegedly signed the closing papers on the home,” according to the search warrant.
Kouri Richins, of Utah, wrote a children's book with her three kids about coping with grief after her husband died "unexpectedly” last year at 39-years-old.
She has just been arrested and charged with his murder after an autopsy revealed he died from an overdose of illicit… pic.twitter.com/Kpw1zIAIAg
— Hunter Jackson In The Morning (@hunterjacksonfm) May 10, 2023
In addition to aggravated murder, Kouri Richins has also been charged with three counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, The New York Times reported.
Prosecutors said the three drug counts involve gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), which is commonly referred to as a “date-rape drug.”
Kouri Richins’ new children’s book is no longer available on Amazon.
According to court records, one of Eric Richins’ relatives has filed for guardianship of the couple’s three sons, KTVX reported.
Kouri Richins is due back in court on May 19.