Kathleen McCormack Durst was months away from graduating from medical school when she went missing on a cold January night in 1982. The main suspect in her disappearance was her husband, Robert, who claims he dropped his wife off at the train station that would take her from Connecticut to New York City, where the couple shared two apartments. The story he told to law enforcement changed numerous times, but Kathleen — Kathy, to friends and family — allegedly told a friend on the night of her disappearance that she was scared for her life and pressed the friend to investigate if she was to go missing. Durst maintained his innocence. His 29-year-old wife was never seen again and declared legally dead in 2001.
To understand the relevance of her family’s new lawsuit, there’s a murderous backstory to cover first. In the same year Kathy was declared dead, millionaire Robert A. Durst was charged with the murder of Morris Black, his neighbor in Galveston, Texas. With a shaved head and eyebrows, he evaded authorities for seven weeks before being caught shoplifting near Manhattan. He was sentenced to five years in prison and only served two weeks. He is also a suspect in the murder of Susan Berman, his confidante who was shot in her home in 2000.
Durst’s bizarre personality and suspect activities were channeled to the mainstream audience earlier this year in the six-part HBO series The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst. With Durst’s microphone still recording him while he used the bathroom, the documentary ends with his voice saying, “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.” The documentarians are credited for the unearthing of evidence that has allowed Berman’s case to move forward and Durst was arrested shortly after, living in New Orleans under an alias and with a gun, mask and $43,000 in cash. Durst, 72, who has been in prison in Louisiana on gun charges since March, is expected to face trial for Berman’s murder in Los Angeles next year.
This week, Kathy’s 101-year-old mother, Ann McCormack, and three sisters filed a lawsuit for $100 million with the New York State Supreme Court, claiming Durst disallowed the family proper opportunity to sepulcher — a New York law that grants family members the immediate right to possession of a body for burial. “There is no evidence that Robert Durst had anything to do with Kathleen’s disappearance. Anybody can file a lawsuit, but eventually they’ll have to come with evidence,” his lawyers said.
Read the full story at The New York Times.