A Utah woman who published a children’s book about grief after the sudden death of her husband has been charged with his murder.
Kouri Richins, a mother of three, called police late one night in March 2022 and said her husband, Eric Richins, was “cold to the touch”.
She told authorities she had made her husband a mixed vodka drink before finding him unresponsive hours later.
A medical examiner later found Mr Richins died from a fentanyl overdose. He had five times the lethal dosage of the drug in his system, the medical examiner said.
According to court documents, between December 2021 and February 2022, Ms Richins had texted a person who had previously been arrested on drug charges asking for prescription pain medication for an investor with a back injury.
Ms Richins received hydrocodone pills, the court documents said, before she requested something stronger – “some of the Michael Jackson stuff”, asking specifically for fentanyl.
Three days after Ms Richins allegedly obtained the drugs, she and her husband had a Valentine’s Day dinner, after which he fell ill.
“Eric believed that he had been poisoned,” the court documents said. “Eric told a friend that he thought his wife was trying to poison him.”
Two weeks later, according to court documents, Ms Richins acquired more fentanyl.
Prosecutors allege on 4 March Ms Richins called police in the middle of the night to say she had found her husband unresponsive.
She told authorities she had served her husband a mixed vodka drink, Moscow Mule, in bed and then went to sleep with one of her young children who was having a night terror. She later returned to her husband in their room and found him “cold to the touch”.
The charges come two months after Ms Richins wrote a picture book “Are You With Me?” to help children cope with the death of a loved one. She told local radio station KPCW the book was to bring “peace” to her and her three sons.
“We wrote this book and we’re really hoping that it provides some comfort for not just obviously, our family, but other families that are going through the same thing,” she told KPCW in an interview last month.
She dedicated the book to Mr Richins, “my amazing husband and a wonderful father”.
In addition to the murder charge, Ms Richins also faces charges involving the alleged possession of GHB, a narcolepsy drug that is used recreationally and sometimes referred to as a date rape drug.