Robert Durst charged with murder of wife Kathie Durst

Real estate magnate accused of second-degree murder after wife vanished in 1982

New York real estate heir Robert Durst was charged with the 1982 death of his wife Kathie Durst. Los Angeles Times via AP

Millionaire real estate scion Robert Durst, who was sentenced last week in California to life in prison for killing a confidante, has been charged in suburban New York City with the death of his wife, Kathie Durst, who vanished in 1982, authorities confirmed on Friday.

A state police investigator filed a criminal complaint on Tuesday in a town court in Lewisboro, New York, accusing Durst of second-degree murder.

Durst, 78, was sentenced last week to life in prison without parole for murdering a confidante who prosecutors say helped him cover up his wife’s killing.

Los Angeles prosecutors say Durst shot Susan Berman in 2000 as she was preparing to confess her role to police.

The real estate magnate, who has numerous medical issues, sat in a wheelchair during much of the sentencing hearing and in the days since has been in hospital on a ventilator after testing positive for Covid-19, one of his lawyers said.

Kathie was 29 when she vanished on January 31, 1982. Her body was never found.

At the request of her family, she was declared legally dead in 2017.

Durst divorced his wife in 1990, citing abandonment.

He was not charged in her disappearance until this week despite several efforts over the years to close the case. Authorities reopened the case in 1999, searching a lake and the couple’s home.

In the 2015 HBO documentary The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, Durst appeared to admit to killing people and admitted he made up details about what happened the she disappeared because he was “hoping that would just make everything go away".

Updated: October 22, 2021, 5:43 PM