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She wrote a book about her husband’s death; the police say she killed him


SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — After her husband died last year, she wrote a children’s book about grief. Now she is charged with murder in his death.

Kouri Richins, 33, was arrested Monday and is accused of poisoning her husband with a lethal dose of fentanyl at their home in Kamas, a small mountain town near Park City.

The murder allegations come months after Richins self-published “Are you with me?” – an illustrated storybook about a young boy who wonders about his father’s presence in his life after the father passes away.

Prosecutors allege that in March 2022, Richins called authorities in the middle of the night to report that her husband, Eric Richins, was “feeling cold.” She told officers she made her husband a mixed drink to celebrate selling a house. She then proceeded to sedate one of their children to sleep in the next bedroom. She later returned and when she noticed her husband was unresponsive, she called 911.

A medical examiner later found five times the lethal dose of fentanyl in his system.

In addition to the murder charge, Richins also faces charges for alleged possession of GHB – a narcolepsy drug commonly used in recreational settings, including dance clubs.

The allegations are based on officers’ interactions with Richins that night and the account of an “unnamed acquaintance” who claims to have sold her the fentanyl. The acquaintance told the researchers that they sold Richins the opioid hydrocodone fentanyl once and twice — in February and March 2022.

The indictment documents allege that Richins deleted text messages from the night of her husband’s death before handing over her phone to investigators and may have attempted to poison her husband on Valentine’s Day, a month before his death.

“Shortly after dinner, Eric became very ill. Eric believed he had been poisoned. Eric told a friend he thought his wife was trying to poison him,” investigators wrote, referring to the Valentine’s Day incident.

Richins’ lawyer, Skye Lazaro, declined to comment on the allegations.

In Richins’ book, the boy wonders if his late father notices his goals at a football game, his nerves on the first day of school, or the presents he found under a Christmas tree.

“Yes, I’m with you,” replies an angel wing-clad father figure wearing a trucker hat. “I’m with you when you scored that goal…I’m with you when you walk the halls…I’m here and we’re together.”

Richins told local media she decided to write, “Are you with me?” after her husband died unexpectedly last year, leaving her a widow and raising three boys. She said she was looking for children’s material about grieving loved ones and found few resources, so she decided to create her own material. She planned to write sequels.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.