Prosecutors reopen case of former CT student Kathie Durst as Robert Durst faces homicide trial in California

As Robert Durst’s homicide trial continues in California, authorities in New York are considering reopening the investigation into the disappearance of his first wife – a former Connecticut student – and reclassifying her disappearance as a homicide.

The California case was back in the courtroom last week after more than a year of hiatus due to the ongoing pandemic.

Durst, 78, heir to a New York City commercial real estate empire, has pleaded not guilty to first degree murder in the 2000 murder of his longtime best friend and confidante, Susan Berman, at her Los Angeles home.


Berman was once Durst’s unofficial spokesperson when his first wife, Kathie Durst, disappeared in 1982 in South Salem, New York.

Durst, 78, was arrested in Louisiana on March 14, 2015, when an HBO series focused on his story was scheduled to air the final episode. On the show, Durst was caught on his microphone, while alone in a bathroom, saying, “What have I done? I killed them all, of course.

Kathie Durst, who graduated from what was then known as Western Connecticut State College in Danbury, was 29 when she was last seen on January 31, 1982. Her husband told authorities that he dropped her off at a train station in South Salem, NY, Manhattan and never saw her again. Kathie Durst was pronounced dead in 2017.

As the case unfolded in California last week, Westchester County District Attorney Mimi Rocah Westchester told News 12 that she assigned the best investigators from a newly formed cold case unit to investigate the Kathie Durst case.

Rocah told the station the case would be looked at with fresh eyes and from a possible domestic violence angle. The station reported that his disappearance had been “reclassified as murder.”

“At the time this alleged homicide happened … we did not have the same understanding of domestic violence, and how this type of abuse can play out in relationships and how it can positively influence the forces. order – and by that I mean the point of view of the police and prosecutors. Rocah told News 12.

His office could not be reached immediately for comment on Friday morning.

During a court appearance last week in California, Deputy District Attorney John Lewin said the murders of Berman and Morris Black in Texas, where Durst was acquitted after claiming to have shot the man in self-defense, were bound. Lewin claimed the two were killed to help cover up the murder of Durst’s first wife.

“It all started with the disappearance of Kathie Durst,” said Lewin.

Durst flew to Texas in November 2000 and went into hiding after Westchester prosecutors reopened Kathie Durst’s investigation. He disguised himself and rented an apartment next to Black in Glaveston.

The Associated Press contributed to the reporting of this story.


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