After Cory Richins’ husband, Eric, died suddenly last year, she wrote a children’s book that she said she hopes will help her three boys cope with the loss, comforted by the knowledge that their father will always be with them.
On Monday, just over two months since the book — Are You With Me? — was published, Ms. Richins, 33, was charged with murdering her husband by poisoning him with a fatal dose of fentanyl at their home near Park City, Utah.
An autopsy and toxicology report found that Mr. Richins, 39, had five times the lethal dose of fentanyl in his system and that the drug was illegal and not medical. The medical examiner also concluded that the fentanyl was ingested orally, according to court documents.
Ms. Richins posted Are You With Me on March 7, just over a year after her husband’s death. A few weeks later, she appeared on KTVX-TV in Salt Lake City to promote the book, which follows the story of a boy who has lost his father but is reminded of his presence.
“My kids and I wrote this book about the different emotions and grieving processes we’ve been through over the past year, hoping that it might help other kids deal with it and somehow find happiness in one way or another,” Ms. Richins told KTVX. “It’s comforting to them that they’re not living this life alone. Dad is still here, but in a different way.
A detention hearing is scheduled for May 19. A lawyer for Ms. Richins did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
According to court documents, on the evening of March 3, 2022, Ms. Richins and Mr. Richins were celebrating the closing of a house that Ms. Richins, a real estate agent, had sold. She made her husband a Moscow Mule, a cocktail, in the kitchen at around 9pm and took it to their bedroom, where Mr Richins drank it in bed.
Ms Richins later told investigators she went to bed and woke up around 3am because one of the boys was having a nightmare. When she returned to the couple’s bedroom, Ms Richins told investigators she “felt Eric and he was cold to the touch”. She called 911, according to court documents.
When Summit County sheriff’s deputies and emergency medical workers arrived, they found Mr. Richins on the floor at the foot of the bed, court documents said. They tried to save his life but could not revive him and he was pronounced dead.
Ms. Richins told investigators she left her phone on next to her bed when she went to check on her son. But investigators later found that the phone had been locked and unlocked “multiple times” between the time she said she went to her son’s bedroom and the 911 call, according to court documents, and that she had been sending and receiving messages through this time. The messages were later deleted, court documents said.
In addition to murder, Ms. Richins was also charged with three counts of possession of a controlled substance, gamma-hydroxybutyric acid, with intent to distribute. Also known as GHB, it is a narcolepsy drug that is also used recreationally in dance clubs and has been called the “date-rape drug.”
A search of Ms Richins’ phone turned up “several communications” with an “acquaintance”, identified in court documents only as CL. According to court documents, CL, who faces multiple drug charges, told investigators Ms. Richins contacted him between December 2021 and February 2022 seeking help obtaining prescription pain medication for “an investor who had a back injury.”
Two weeks after the pain pills were delivered, Ms. Richins contacted CL again and said she was looking for “something stronger,” according to court documents. She asked for “some of Michael Jackson’s stuff,” specifying that she was looking for fentanyl. CL sold her 15 to 30 fentanyl pills for $900, court documents said.
On February 14, 2022, three days after Ms. Richins purchased the pills, Mr. Richins became ill after a Valentine’s Day dinner at their home in Camas, Utah. Mr Richins later told friends he thought his wife was trying to poison him, according to court documents.
Two weeks later, Ms. Richins contacted CL again, asking for another $900 in fentanyl pills. CL obtained the pills from a dealer, court documents said, and left them with Ms. Richins outside a house she was selling in Midway, Utah, south of Park City.
“Six days later,” court documents state, “Eric was found dead from a fentanyl overdose.”