Grief book author’s mother investigated after separate ‘suspicious’ overdose death: affidavit

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By journalsofus.com


Mother of Utah woman charged in husband’s overdose death after writing a children’s book about grief He also lost a romantic partner to a “suspicious” drug overdose, a newly unsealed search warrant affidavit shows.

Kouri Richins’ mother, Lisa Darden, was subjected to a phone search last year after a detective investigating the 2022 death of Eric Richins discovered a similar overdose in 2006, according to the affidavit filed in Summit County in May of last year.

“Based on Lisa Darden’s proximity to her partner’s suspicious overdose death and her relationship with Kouri, it is possible that she was involved in the planning and orchestration of Eric’s death,” said Summit County Sheriff’s Detective , Jeff O’Driscoll, with the request to search Darden’s phone records. .

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Kouri Richins, a Utah mother of three who authorities say fatally poisoned her husband and then wrote a children’s book about grieving, appears in court in November.

Law enforcement officials declined to comment on the current status of the investigation, including whether Darden is a suspect or a person of interest. A sheriff’s department representative said Tuesday that the case was turned over to state prosecutors and directed all media inquiries to the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office. The prosecutor declined to comment.

In 2006, Darden was living with a woman and was named beneficiary of her estate “shortly” before the woman died of an oxycodone overdose in April of that year, according to O’Driscoll.

The woman, who was not identified, had prescriptions for oxycodone and reportedly had trouble abusing her medications, but O’Driscoll said that based on her “training and experience,” she had ruled out the possibility of an accidental overdose.

Richins’ attorney, Skye Lazaro, said the 2006 death was nothing short of a tragedy.

“The fact that Ms. Darden’s partner was one of the millions who suffered and ultimately succumbed to opioid addiction is nothing ‘suspicious.’ It is tragic and, unfortunately, quite common,” Lazaro said in a statement to HuffPost.

In addition to a similar death, O’Driscoll said they discovered conversations on Richins’ phone that revealed Darden had “disdain” for his son-in-law, Eric.

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Eric Richins, whose home is pictured, died after consuming about five times the lethal dose of fentanyl, an autopsy found.

The mother and daughter were very close and spoke almost daily on the phone, the detective said.

However, not all of Richins’ conversations were clearly known, as an earlier search warrant allegedly found that several text messages had been deleted from his phone over 15 days at “the time surrounding Eric’s death,” O noted. ‘Driscoll.

Richins said she had been celebrating the closing of a home for her real estate business with her husband shortly before he was found unconscious on March 4, 2022, authorities previously said.

He allegedly said he had been served a Moscow mule cocktail and then found it cold to the touch and called 911. An autopsy determined he died from consuming approximately five times the lethal dose of fentanyl.

A woman identified as the family’s housekeeper later admitted to twice supplying the mother of three with between 15 and 30 fentanyl pills about a month before Eric’s death, O’Driscoll said in the affidavit.

“She provided details regarding the ordering of the drugs, pickup and delivery locations, and other pertinent details that have been corroborated with digital forensic evidence,” O’Driscoll said.

Richins took out large life insurance policies on her husband, with benefits totaling nearly $2 million, shortly before his death, prosecutors said.

Richins published an illustrated children’s book with her children titled “Are You With Me?” The book, which featured a drawing of an angel on the cover that resembled her late husband, was written to help comfort her children, she said in a television interview to promote it.

“It’s comforting for them to know that they’re not living this life alone,” he said. “Dad is still here. He is just in a different way.”

Richins remains behind bars charged with aggravated murder and three counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute.

She also faces a witness tampering charge after prosecutors said authorities found a letter addressed to his mother in his cell in September. She also faces a domestic violence assault charge after allegedly hitting her sister-in-law in 2022, according to the Salt Lake City station. KSL-TV.

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