A children's book author who wrote about grieving a loved one after her husband died has been charged with his murder.
Kouri Richins, 33, was arrested May 8 in connection with the 2022 death of her husband Eric Richins, 39. According to an arrest warrant obtained by E! News, she was charged with aggravated murder and three counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, and accused of killing her husband of nine years with a lethal dose of fentanyl.
The arrest comes just two months after she published the children's book, Are You With Me?, about dealing with grieving a loved one.
Kouri's attorney declined to comment when reached by E! News.
According to Kouri's charging warrant, obtained by E! News, police responded to a 911 call from the Richins' home in the early hours of March 4, 2022 about an unresponsive male and found Eric on the foot of the couple's bed. After live-saving measures were attempted, he was declared dead.
According to the warrant, Kouri told authorities that the evening before, Eric drank a Moscow Mule cocktail she had made him to celebrate her closing on a house for her business. The documents also state that Kouri—who shared three kids with Eric—said she had gone to bed that night but later went to sleep with one of their sons in their bedroom because he was "having a night terror." She then allegedly woke up around 3 a.m. and discovered Eric in their bedroom "cold to the touch" and called 911.
After an autopsy showed that Eric died from an overdose of fentanyl and that it was ingested orally, police executed a search warrant on the Richins residence and seized Kouri's phone and several computers. She had previously told police that she left her phone charged next to her bed the night Eric died. However, according to the charging warrant, investigators discovered that the device was locked and unlocked multiple times and that text messages were sent and received, then deleted.
Investigators further found she had had communications with an acquaintance identified as C.L. The charging warrant states that on May 2, detectives interviewed the person, who alleged that Kouri had texted them between December 2021 and February 2022 to ask if they could get her "prescription pain medication for an investor who had a back injury."
According to the charging warrant, C.L. told investigators that they procured for her hydrocodone pills from a dealer, and that two weeks later, Kouri allegedly contacted them and said that her investor wanted something stronger and asked for "some of the Michael Jackson stuff." (The singer died in 2009 from a lethal dose of propofol.)
According to the court documents, C.L. alleged that Kouri "asked specifically for fentanyl" and they later acquired for her 15-30 pills. Days after the alleged conversation, Eric and Kouri had a Valentine's Day 2022 dinner at home and he "became very ill," with him telling a friend that he "thought his wife was trying to poison him." Kouri later allegedly obtained more fentanyl pills from C.L. and after six days, "Eric was found dead of a fentanyl overdose," according to the charging warrant.
An April 2022 search warrant obtained by NBC News quotes Summit County Sheriff's Office Detective Jayme Woody as saying that investigators found "no painkillers or other concerning medications for Eric" and that there was also "no indication of Eric from friends or family or on scene that Eric was a drug user or that he had had any use or behavioral changes to indicate drug use.
And in addition to confiding in a friend, the detective said that Eric also allegedly spoke about his suspicions about Kouri trying to poison him with his family, who said he "warned them that if anything happened to him, she was to blame," according to the search warrant. The detective also said he was told that Eric became ill on two occasions after ingesting a drink and a sandwich made by his wife.
The search warrant also states that before his death, Eric had changed his will and life insurance policy without telling Kouri, making his sister the beneficiary instead of his wife. The warrant adds that "he was looking into a divorce and wanted his kids taken care of." Kouri later allegedly logged into his account and tried to make herself the beneficiary, but the insurance company notified Eric.
After Kouri was charged, a judge ordered her to remain detained without bail, with court records showing that a detention hearing has been scheduled for May 19.
(E! and NBC News are part of the NBCUniversal family.)