KAMAS CITY, Utah – A widow in Utah who authored a grief book for children in the wake of her husband’s death has been charged with his murder, according to authorities.
Kouri Darden Richins, 33, is the mother of three young children. She was arrested Monday and charged in Summit County Third District Court with first-degree murder and three counts of second-degree possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, officials confirmed. The woman is accused of poisoning her husband, Eric Richins, at their home on Willow Court in Kamas City on March 4, 2022, KUTV reported.
On the night of Eric’s death, Summit County deputies arrived at the couple’s home about 3:20 a.m. to find him lying on the floor at the foot of the bed. Despite first responders making life-saving efforts, he did not survive.
“Life-saving measures were attempted, but Eric was declared deceased,” according to documents cited by KSL-TV.
Kouri told police she made her husband a mixed alcoholic beverage — Moscow Mule — and served it to him in their bedroom to celebrate his sale of a home for her business. One of the children were reportedly having a nightmare, so she eventually fell asleep with the child, according to court documents.
“(Kouri) said she awoke around 3 a.m. and came back to her and Eric’s bedroom. She felt Eric, and he was cold to the touch. That is when the defendant called 911,” the documents read.
Kouri Richins, 33, a mother of three who wrote a children’s book about grieving the loss of a loved one after the death of her husband, has been charged with his murder. (Facebook)
The mother told law enforcement authorities she left her phone in the couple’s bedroom. However, cellphone records show the device was used multiple times in the child’s bedroom.
“In addition, tolls on the defendant’s phone show that messages were sent and received during that time. These messages were deleted,” according to court documents, KSL-TV reported.
An autopsy revealed that Eric died of an oral overdose of fentanyl. His system contained five times the lethal dosage, the medical examiner disclosed.
Investigators obtained a search warrant for Kouri’s phone and computers, and found multiple communications between her and an “unnamed acquaintance,” according to court documents.
Detectives interviewed the acquaintance on May 2. The unnamed individual faced multiple counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute and other drug-related violations, the New York Post reported.
Between December 2021 and February 2022, Kouri requested “prescription pain medication for an investor,” the person told investigators, according to court documents.
She “told (the acquaintance) to leave the pills at a house defendant was flipping in Midway, Utah. (The acquaintance) left the pills at the house, and the defendant left cash for them,” the documents said, KSL-TV reported.
Following a Valentine’s Day dinner shared by the couple on Feb. 14, 2022, Eric “became very ill,” investigators wrote in a probable cause statement, cited by KUTV.
“Eric believed that he had been poisoned. Eric told a friend that he thought his wife was trying to poison him,” it reads.
Kouri dedicated the children’s book “to my amazing husband and a wonderful father.” (Kouri Richins/Facebook)
Detectives learned that Kouri sought something more potent from the acquaintance, purportedly for her investor.
She asked for “something stronger and asked for ‘some of the Michael Jackson stuff,’” specifically fentanyl, the news outlet reported, citing the documents.
The acquaintance obtained 15 to 30 fentanyl pills from a drug dealer in Ogden, Utah, on Feb. 26, 2022, and sold them to Kouri at her residence for $900, officials said.
Six days later Eric was found dead in the couple’s bedroom.
Following her husband’s “unexpected death,” Kouri wrote the picture book “Are You With Me?” to help kids cope with the death of a loved one. It was published March 5, 2023, one year and a day after Eric died. She even made an appearance on a local TV station to promote her work.
The book was “written to create peace and comfort for children who have lost a loved one,” according to its description on Amazon. “It’s to reassure children that although your loved one is not present, their presence always exist and they walk through life with you as if they were here.”
“Dedicated to my amazing husband and a wonderful father,” Kouri scribed in the book.
Eric “became very ill” on Valentine’s Day last year and told a friend he thought his wife was trying to kill him. (Kouri Richins/Facebook)
Eric’s obituary said the couple had been married for nine years and had three children together.
“Eric did absolutely everything in his power to provide his family with every possible opportunity to learn, grow, and have fun,” the obituary reads.