Kouri Richins’ mother investigated for ‘suspicious overdose death’

Posted at 8:00 PM, March 18, 2024 and last updated 7:53 AM, March 19, 2024

PARK CITY, Utah (Court TV) — A recently unsealed search warrant affidavit has revealed an investigation into Kouri Richins’ mother, Lisa Darden, who investigators believe could have possibly been “involved in planning and orchestrating” the death of Kouri’s husband.

Kouri Richins sits in court at her counsel table.

Kouri Richins sits with her attorneys in court before a scheduled hearing on Nov. 3, 2023. (Court TV)

Kouri Richins is charged with murdering her husband, Eric Richins, by putting five times the lethal dosage of illicit Fentanyl in his cocktail and trying to profit from his life insurance. After his death, Kouri wrote and self-published a children’s book about grief that she wrote for the three sons she shared with her late husband.

During the investigation, detectives dug deep into Kouri and Eric’s personal relationships, including Kouri’s mom, with whom she communicated almost daily, “both for personal matters and in her business dealings,” an affidavit stated. 

In the affidavit obtained by Court TV, Detective Jeff O’Driscoll revealed that in 2006, Darden was living with an adult female with whom she was having a romantic relationship. The woman died unexpectedly from what an autopsy determined to be an overdose of oxycodone. Despite having prescriptions for oxycodone and a history of medication abuse, the partner was not in recovery, leading investigators to suspect foul play rather than accidental overdose.

Lisa Darden

Kouri Richins’ mother, Lisa Darden, speaks to Court TV at her daughter’s motion hearing in Nov. 2023. (Court TV)

Further investigation showed that Kouri’s 64-year-old mother had been named the beneficiary of her partner’s estate a short time before her death. “Based on Lisa Darden’s proximity to her partner’s suspicious overdose death and her relationship with Kouri, it is possible she was involved in planning and orchestrating Eric’s death,” O’Driscoll said in the affidavit.

Kouri’s attorney, Skye Lazaro, responded to the State’s claims, telling Court TV in a statement, “The fact that Ms. Darden’s significant other was one of the millions that suffered from, and ultimately succumbed to, opioid addiction is hardly ‘suspicious.’ It is tragic and, unfortunately, quite common.”

Lazaro went on to say that the fact that Ms. Darden was the beneficiary of her romantic partner’s life insurance policy was neither unique nor different than most American families and “to suggest otherwise is nothing more than a baseless conspiracy theory.”

The search warrant, which aimed to seize and examine the contents of any and all electronic communication devices belonging to Lisa Darden, was granted and executed on May 4, 2023.