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Housekeeper of Grief Book Author Accused of Fatally Poisoning Husband Says She Sold Her Fentanyl
Kouri Richins' housekeeper told investigators she sold two batches of fentanyl pills to Richins weeks before she allegedly poisoned her husband with the drug.
The Utah mother and grief book author accused of fatally poisoning her husband allegedly bought fentanyl on two occasions from her housekeeper weeks before his death, according to court documents.
The housekeeper, Carmen Marie Lauber, said she supplied Kouri Richins with two batches of 15 to 30 fentanyl pills each about one month before her husband’s death last year, with Richins paying about $900 for each bunch, according to records obtained by KSL.com.
Lauber, 51, was first named in court documents in the murder case because of a series of text messages between herself and Richins, 33, who wrote a children’s story about grief after the death of her husband.
"Carmen Lauber was identified as being a housekeeper often used by Kouri for her residential real estate business," court documents stated.
The housekeeper has not been arrested or charged with any crimes linked to 39-year-old Eric Richins’ death, though she was convicted in 2021 on multiple drug charges, including first-degree felony drug possession. She took a plea in abeyance and agreed to enter drug court, and was reinvestigated after her name emerged in the Richins’ murder case.
She was questioned by investigators on May 2 and she confessed to the drug deal, after being arrested for a misdemeanor traffic offense in late March, according to KSL.
“[Lauber] provided details of the solicitation of the drugs, the pickup and drop-off locations, and other pertinent details that have been corroborated with digital forensic evidence," Summit County sheriff’s detectives stated in a search warrant affidavit.
Prosecutors believe Richins put a lethal dose of fentanyl in her husband’s Moscow Mule on March 4, 2022, ultimately causing his death. She is charged with first-degree aggravated murder, as well as three counts of second-degree drug possession with intent to distribute, KSL reported.
A civil lawsuit from Eric’s estate against Richins, cited by KSL, stated that Richins asked Lauber — only identified by her initials C.L. in the suit — to “procure some fentanyl for her" in February of 2022. Lauber then contacted "a drug dealer who routinely deals fentanyl," the lawsuit continues.
"Either that same day or the next day, C.L. delivered those pills to Kouri by hand in the driveway of C.L.'s home," the lawsuit said. Lauber arranged another time for Richins to buy more fentanyl from the same dealer, which she delivered to Richins.
The Summit County Sheriff's Office wrote in an affidavit on April 26 of this year, related to her court violations for her drug charges, that the office "has been conducting an investigation regarding a death that occurred in March of 2022. During this investigation, information became available that (Carmen) Lauber had a significant illicit drug history and is likely still involved in the possession and distribution of illegal substances."
A GPS tracking device was placed on Lauber's car and investigators found drug paraphernalia after a search warrant was executed on her house and garbage, the affidavit added.
She was released from custody on May 17, and a judge prohibited her from contacting several people, including Richins.
While the Richins’ case was not directly named in a court appearance Lauber made Wednesday, it was alluded to several times, including by Lauber's attorney, who said his client is trying to avoid "terrible consequences" and wants to "move forward," according to KSL.
Richins — who was charged in May with her husband's murder — was denied bail last month, with the judge citing "substantial evidence" against her.
Richins’ next court appearance is scheduled for September 1, while Lauber is next set to appear for a hearing on August 16.