CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Author of book on grief for children accused of murder of husband

May 8, 2023, 9:30 PM

The author of "Are You With Me?" faces charges related to the murder of her husband, almost exactly a year before the book was published. Screen grab: Amazon

KAMAS, Utah — The author of a book aimed at helping children deal with grief faces charges related to the murder of her husband, almost exactly a year before that book was published. 

Kouri Richins, 33, was charged Monday in Summit County’s Third District Court with one count of criminal homicide and aggravated murder and three counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. 

Children’s book author, real estate agent accused of murder

According to the charging documents, Richins told investigators she called 911 after 3 a.m. on March 4, 2022, after finding her husband cold and unresponsive in bed. A real estate agent, she told investigators they had celebrated closing a sale earlier in the evening with a Moscow mule. However, the medical examiner found five times the lethal amount of fentanyl in his system during a later autopsy. 

The autopsy results led investigators to pursue a search warrant, according to the charging documents. 

“During the service of that search warrant, defendant’s phone and several computers were seized as evidence,” the charging documents stated. 

Those devices led to the discovery of a series of messages between Richins and an informant identified only by the initials C.L. 

“On May 2, 2023, Summit County detectives interviewed C.L.,” the document continued. “[T]he defendant contacted C.L. via text message and asked if C.L. could get defendant some prescription pain medication for an investor who had a back injury.”

According to the informant, he or she provided hydrocodone pills obtained from a dealer. But later, C.L. claimed Richins contacted them again, this time looking for stronger medications — “some of that Michael Jackson stuff,” then requested fentanyl specifically. 

The informant claimed Richins paid $900 for fentanyl on two different occasions. According to the charging documents, Richins is accused of administering the drugs to her husband at least twice – once on Valentine’s Day, after which Eric Richins became ill enough to tell a friend he suspected he was being poisoned, and again a few weeks later, when he died. 

Book focuses on children’s grief

Richins made the rounds on local media earlier this spring with the publication of her book, “Are You With Me?” The back jacket of the book on Amazon features a photo of Richins, her late husband, Eric, and three children. A dedication inside reads, “Dedicated to my amazing husband and a wonderful father.” 

The book was published on March 5, 2023 – one year and a day after the death of Eric Richins. 

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Author of book on grief for children accused of murder of husband