Born In: Manhattan, New York, United States
Robert Alan Durst was a Jewish-American real estate (Durst Organization) heir who was widely suspected to be involved in the disappearance and murder of his first wife, Kathleen McCormack Durst, in 1982, and the murder of his long-time friend, Susan Berman in 2000. He was also accused of killing his elderly neighbour, Morris Black, in 2001, and dumping the dismembered body in Galveston Bay. He was acquitted of the murder charge when he claimed that he accidentally killed Black while defending himself. In 2015, with new evidence, he was charged with the murder of Susan Berman and arrested. The trial began on March 2020, but was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, in 2021, he was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole. His life has inspired a movie with Ryan Gosling in lead, and a HBO miniseries.
Also Known As: Robert Alan Durst
Died At Age: 78
Spouse/Ex-: Debrah Lee Charatan (m. 2000), Kathleen McCormack (m. 1973 – div. 1990)
father: Seymour Durst
mother: Bernice Herstein
siblings: Douglas Durst, Thomas Durst, Wendy Durst Kreeger
children: Bernice Herstein, Seymour Durst
Born Country: United States
place of death: Stockton, California, United States
education: University Of California, Los Angeles, Lehigh University
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Robert Alan Durst was born on April 12, 1943, in New York, US to real estate investor, Seymour Durst, and his wife, Bernice Herstein. He was the eldest of the four children of the couple.
At the young age of 7, Robert Durst lost his mother when she fell from the roof of their residence in Scarsdale, New York. He claimed that he had witnessed the tragic incident; however, later his brother Douglas denied it.
He began seeing Mia Farrow's sister, Prudence. By 1982, the couple was staying in separate residences in Manhattan.
On January 31, 1982, she was last seen at her friend’s party in Connecticut where she appeared upset and left for her South Salem home after receiving phone call from Durst.
He filed a missing report five days later, after the medical school supervisor informed him that she had called on February 1 and taken a sick leave.
A doorman at her apartment reported that he had seen her on February 1, but was unsure of the identity since he had seen from behind and a distance. Durst declined any connection in his wife’ disappearance. In 1990, he divorced her, claiming spousal abandonment.
Robert Durst remained a part of his family business till 1992, when his father selected his younger brother Douglas as the designated successor. He left and stayed at various places.
Investigators contacted Susan Berman to speak with her regarding McCormack disappearance. However, on December 23, Susan Berman was found dead by the police. She was shot execution-style at her home in Benedict Canyon, LA.
After few days, the Beverly Hills Police Department got a handwritten note with only Berman’s address and ‘cadaver’ written in block letter. In it, Beverly was misspelt as Beverley.
On October 9, 2001, Durst was taken into custody in Galveston for killing his seventy-one years old neighbour Morris Black. The body parts of latter were found floating in Galveston Bay.
He was released on bail but when he failed to appear a court hearing on October 16, 2001, an arrest warrant was issued for him.
After weeks of manhunt, he was eventually arrested after he attempted to steal band-aids, a newspaper and a sandwich from a supermarket in Pennsylvania despite having money in his pocket.
Susan Berman’s stepson gave the producer a 1999 letter written by Robert Durst to Berman in which Beverly was misspelt the same way as in the 2000 ‘cadaver’ letter received by the police.
Apart from the three cases, investigators have also reportedly looked into Durst’s involvement in the vanishing of eighteen year old Lynne Schulze from Vermont, sixteen year old Karen Mitchell from California and eighteen year old Kristen Modafferi from San Francisco.
Since 2015, Durst was plagued with numerous medical issues like surgeries for esophageal cancer, getting a shunt installed in his brain for hydrocephalus and cervical spinal fusion.
Robert Durst died on January 10, 2022, of cardiac arrest at the San Joaquin General Hospital in Stockton, California. He was 78.
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