Kouri Richins, a 33-year-old mother of three, allegedly poisoned her husband with five times the lethal dosage of fentanyl.
Police arrested a Utah author who wrote a children’s book about grief following her husband’s untimely death. The charges include one first-degree felony count of aggravated murder and three second-degree felony counts of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance.
The accused, Kouri Richins, is a 33-year-old mother of three and was married to Eric Richins, a member of a prominent family in the Summit County area of Utah.
The couple had been married for roughly nine years before Eric Richins’s death and had three sons together.
To the outside world, their marriage appeared relatively normal. Eric Richins owned a successful stone masonry business, and Kouri Richins worked as a real estate agent.
But on the night of March 3, 2022, the Richins family experienced a tragedy.
Kouri Richins placed a 911 call shortly after three in the morning. On the phone, she told dispatchers that her husband was “cold to the touch,” as reported by Associated Press.
When officers arrived, Kouri told them that she had made a drink for her husband to celebrate a recent closing of a home. She also stated that Eric had taken a THC gummy, KPCW news reported.
After serving him the drink, Kouri reportedly spent a few hours in one of her son’s bedrooms to help soothe his night terrors before returning to her and Eric’s room. There, she found him unresponsive on the floor.
Following the sudden death, medical examiners performed an autopsy on Eric’s body and found that he had died of a fentanyl overdose.
According to the medical examiners, Eric had over five times the lethal amount of fentanyl in his system.
Given these autopsy results, authorities became suspicious of Kouri, but they needed time to gather evidence to prove that she had poisoned her husband.
In the year following her husband’s death, Kouri published a children’s book titled Are You With Me? The story explored grief and how to navigate it as a young child.
Kouri recently spoke about the book and the loss of her husband on podcasts and talk shows.
While appearing on the show Good Things Utah, Kouri said she always makes sure that her husband’s spirit is alive in her home.
“Just because he’s not present here with us physically, that doesn’t mean that his presence isn’t here with us,” she explained.
Kouri dedicated the book “to my amazing husband and a wonderful father.”
While Kouri Richins built a name for herself as a grieving widow and burgeoning author, the police built a case against her for murder.
With a warrant in hand, the police seized Kouri’s electronic devices and began meticulously reviewing their contents.
On Kouri’s phone, police found that she had contacted a friend in search of prescription pain medication.
“[I want] some of the Michael Jackson stuff,” Kouri wrote in a text, as reported by Fox8 News. Specifically, Kouri was interested in fentanyl, and her friend obliged, giving her 15 to 20 fentanyl pills.
Alongside suspicious texts, Eric’s family reportedly voiced concerns about Kouri to police shortly after his death.
According to KPCW, the family said Eric had “warned them that if anything happened to him, [Kouri] was to blame.”
Shockingly, Eric’s family even remarked that Kouri had attempted to poison Eric on at least two other occasions.
One of Eric’s two sisters told police he had called her while vacationing with Kouri in Greece. While the couple relaxed and enjoyed their time together, Kouri reportedly handed Eric a drink that made him violently ill.
On February 14, 2022, Eric reportedly suffered from an allergic reaction at the dinner table and passed out. When he woke, he was sure his wife was trying to kill him.
Further damning evidence came from Eric’s life insurance company. In January 2022, Kouri allegedly changed the policy beneficiary from one of Eric’s friends and business partners to herself. When the company contacted Eric regarding this change, he immediately switched it back.
Additionally, Eric changed the beneficiary of his will and power of attorney from Kouri to his sister. Court documents also mention that Eric was on the cusp of beginning divorce proceedings when he died.
Kouri reportedly found out that she had been cut from the will after Eric’s death, and she quickly began suing Eric’s family for what she considered her rightful cut of her late husband’s assets.
With a financial motive for the crime and physical evidence connecting Kouri to her husband’s death, police arrested her at her home.
Currently, Kouri is facing murder and drug charges. Her next day in court will be May 19, when a judge will decide if she should remain in prison until her trial begins.
After reading the story of Kouri Richins, learn the history behind the unsolved Tylenol poisonings of 1982, during which seven people were killed by unknowingly swallowing a cyanide pill hidden amongst Tylenol. Then, read about Richard Klinkhamer, the man who wrote a book detailing the grisly ways he could have killed his missing wife — only to be charged with her murder years later.