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Kouri Richins wrote a children's book on grief after her husband died. Now she's charged with his murder.

Utah mom accused of poisoning her husband
Utah mom who wrote children's book about grief charged in husband's poisoning death 05:42

After her husband died last year, she wrote a children's book on grief. Now she's charged with his murder.

Kouri Richins was arrested on Monday in Utah and is accused in charging documents of poisoning her husband with a lethal dose of fentanyl at their home in Kamas, a small mountain town near Park City. According to a probable cause statement, the victims "told a friend that he thought his wife was trying to poison him," CBS affiliate KUTV reported.

Wife Murder Children's Book
This photo provided by shows Kouri Richins at the KPCW studio in Park City, Utah, April 12, 2023. Richins was arrested on May 8, 2023 in Utah and is accused in charging documents of poisoning her husband with a lethal dose of fentanyl at their home in Kamas. / AP

Prosecutors allege that Richins called authorities in the middle of the night in March 2022 to report that her husband, Eric Richins, was "cold to the touch." The mother of three told officers that she had made her husband a mixed vodka drink to celebrate him selling a home and then went to soothe one of their children to sleep in their bedroom. She later returned and upon finding her husband unresponsive, called 911.

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

In addition to the murder charge, Richins also faces charges involving the alleged possession of GHB - a narcolepsy drug frequently used in recreational settings, including at dance clubs.

Detectives said they found evidence that Richins had communicated with a person who has previously been charged for possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, KUTV reported. Richins reportedly texted this person to ask for some prescription pain medication for an investor who had a back injury, and she was given hydrocodone pills. About two weeks later, Kouri said her investor wanted something stronger and requested "some of the Michael Jackson stuff," asking specifically for fentanyl.

KUTV reported that three days after Richins allegedly procured the fentanyl — she and her husband had a Valentine's Day dinner in which he "became very ill," a probable cause statement read.

"Eric believed that he had been poisoned," the statement said. "Eric told a friend that he thought his wife was trying to poison him."

The charges come two months after Richins appeared on local television to promote "Are you with me?" a picture book she wrote to help children cope after the death of a loved one.

For a segment entitled "Good Things Utah," Richins called her husband's death unexpected and described how it sent her and her three boys reeling. For children, she said, grieving was about "making sure that their spirit is always alive in your home."

"It's - you know - explaining to my kid just because he's not present here with us physically, doesn't mean his presence isn't here with us," she told the anchors, who commended her for being an amazing mother.

KUTV reports the dedication section of the book reads: "Dedicated to my amazing husband and a wonderful father."

Richins' attorney, Skye Lazaro, declined to comment on the charges.

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