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a dark turn

Mom who wrote children's book on grief charged with killing her husband

A Utah mother who published a children's book about coping with grief after her husband died has been accused of poisoning him with a lethal dose of fentanyl. 

Kouri Richins' husband, Eric, died in their Kamas, Utah, home on March 4, 2022. Police responded after Richins called 911 to report that she'd found him unresponsive in their bedroom, per a probable cause statement. At the time, Richins told investigators that she had "closed on a house for her business" and brought her husband "a celebratory Moscow Mule cocktail in the bedroom of their home," CNN summarizes. She told authorities she'd left to sleep in their son's room and "returned around 3 a.m. to find her husband lying on the floor cold to the touch." 

Roughly a year after her husband's death, CNN adds, "Richins published a children's book, Are You With Me? about navigating grief after the loss of a loved one." But just over two months after the book was published, she was charged with killing her husband, having made "a series of illicit fentanyl purchases in the months leading up to his death," CNN writes, per court documents.

An autopsy and toxicology report determined that Richins' husband of nine years "had five times the lethal dosage of fentanyl in his system and that the drug was illicit and not medical grade," The New York Times says. The medical examiner concluded that he ingested the drugs orally. 

A search of Richins' cellphone revealed communication between her and an acquaintance identified in court records as C.L., who claimed to have provided her with the drugs.  After C.L. sold her pain medication, Richins reached out and asked for "some of the Michael Jackson stuff." C.L.  sold her 15 to 30 fentanyl pills for $900 six days before her husband's death, the court documents say.

Authorities arrested Richins on Monday and charged her with aggravated murder and three counts of second-degree felony possession with intent to distribute, according to the Summit County Sheriff's Office.