New Woes May Be Looming for Robert Durst

NY prosecutor plans to seek indictment regarding death of real estate scion's first wife, per source
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 9, 2021 8:29 AM CDT
New Woes May Be Looming for Robert Durst
In this Jan. 6, 2017, file photo, real estate heir Robert Durst is seen at a hearing in Los Angeles.   (Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times via AP, Pool, File)

A New York prosecutor will seek an indictment in the coming weeks against millionaire real estate scion Robert Durst for the death of his former wife, Kathie Durst, who disappeared in 1982, a person familiar with the matter told the AP on Friday. Westchester District Attorney Mimi Rocah decided in recent days to take the case to a grand jury in the next week or two, according to the source, who wasn't authorized to speak publicly about the matter. The grand jury process is expected to take about a month, the person said. The news was first reported Friday by News 12 in Westchester.

Kathie Durst was 29 and in her final months of medical school when she vanished on Jan. 31, 1982. She and Robert Durst, who was 38 at the time, had been married nearly nine years and were living in South Salem, near the Connecticut border. Her body was never found. At the request of her family, she was declared legally dead in 2017. Robert Durst claimed to police that on the night of her disappearance, he'd put her on a train to New York City, had a drink with a neighbor, and then spoke with his wife by phone while she stayed at their Manhattan apartment. They'd been fighting earlier in the evening, he said.

A few weeks before that, Kathie Durst had gone to the hospital with facial injuries she said were caused by Robert Durst. In the 2015 HBO documentary The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, he admitted he made up the details about seeing his neighbor and talking to Kathie Durst by phone, saying he did so because he was "hoping that would just make everything go away." Robert Durst, who divorced Kathie Durst in 1990 citing abandonment, has never been charged in her disappearance, despite several efforts over the years to close the case. Authorities reopened the case in 1999, searching a lake and the couple's home.

A message seeking comment was left Friday with the Westchester DA's office, which previously said that it reopened the investigation into Kathie Durst's death. In a statement issued after Durst's conviction last month, a spokesperson for Rocah's office said its investigation was ongoing. Meanwhile, Durst's lawyer, David Chesnoff, said: "I don't respond to rumors." Robert Durst, 78, is jailed in Los Angeles and scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 14 for the 2000 killing of his friend, Susan Berman. His first-degree murder conviction carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

(Read more Robert Durst stories.)

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