Utah Wife Who Wrote Children's Book on Grieving Loss After Husband's Death Now Accused of Killing Him

Kouri and Eric Richins
Kouri and Eric Richins (left) and Kouri pictured alone. Twitter

A Utah woman who wrote a children's book about grief, after the sudden death of her husband, was arrested on Monday on charges of murdering her spouse.

According to a KUTV report, Kouri Darden Richins, 33, of Summit County, is now facing a first-degree aggravated murder charge.

Kouri Accused of Killing Eric with Lethal Dose of Fentanyl

Kouri Richins and Eric Richins
The Richins family. Facebook

Kouri was arrested on Monday for allegedly poisoning her husband, Eric Richins, at their home on Willow Court in Kamas on March 4, 2022. She is also facing three second-degree felony charges of possessing a controlled substance with the intent to distribute, officials said.

In March 2022, Kouri called the police late one night and said her husband, was "cold to the touch." According to media reports, the police arrived at their home at about 3:20 am on the night of Eric's death to find him lying at the foot of the bed. "Life-saving measures were attempted, but Eric was declared deceased," according to documents cited by KSL-TV.

She told the officials that she had made her husband a Moscow Mule cocktail in the bedroom of their home before finding him unresponsive hours later. A medical examiner later found Eric died from a fentanyl overdose. The medical examiner said that he had five times the lethal dosage of the drug in his system.

Kouri Purchased Fentanyl in the Months Leading Up to Eric's Death

Kouri and Eric Richins
Kouri and Eric Richins with one of their children. Twitter

Newly released court documents detailed a series of illicit fentanyl purchases by Kouri in the months leading up to his death.

Kouri allegedly bought the drugs from an acquaintance identified as C.L. in court documents. Weeks before her husband's death, the couple had marked Valentine's Day with a dinner at home. "Shortly after the dinner, Eric became very ill. ... Eric told a friend that he thought his wife was trying to poison him," court documents say.

Investigators obtained a search warrant and seized his wife's phone and several computers in their home. They discovered communications between Kouri Richins and C.L., who had an extensive police record that included drug-related offenses, court documents say.

C.L. told detectives that at some point between December 2021 and February 2022, Kouri contacted C.L. and asked for prescription pain pills for an investor. C.L. said they obtained hydrocodone and left the pills at a property Kouri was flipping, court documents say.

A couple of weeks later, Kouri Richins reached out again and asked for "some of the Michael Jackson stuff," according to court documents. Kouri Richins allegedly went to C.L.'s house around February 11 and paid $900 for "15-30 fentanyl pills" that C.L. had obtained from a dealer.

About two weeks later, on February 26, she allegedly reached out to C.L. for more fentanyl pills. C.L. left them at an outdoor fire pit at the same property where the hydrocodone had been delivered.

'Are You With Me?' – A Book to Help Children Deal with Grief

Are You With Me?
The cover of the book "Are You With Me?" Twitter

About a year to the day her husband died, Richins published a children's book, "Are You With Me?" about helping children cope with the death of a loved one.

For months, Kouri Richins worked on her book. Last month, she appeared on "Good Things Utah," a show on local television station ABC4, to talk about the importance of her children's book on mourning.

She said it's based on three concepts: connection, continuity and care. "Connection: Keep the person's spirit alive who has passed. ... Continuity: Try and keep routines and schedules as normal as possible. ... Care: Affirming their feelings; understanding when they are sad, mad, lonely and talking about those feelings and letting them know it's OK," Kouri said in the interview.

Her three young sons helped her write the book to help them articulate their feelings, she added.

Kouri's next hearing has been scheduled for May 19.