Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, breaking news, sweepstakes, and more!
The family of Kathleen “Kathie” McCormack Durst, who vanished in 1982, is accusing public officials of covering up for convicted killer Robert Durst in the past.
Durst, 78, was indicted last week by a grand jury in New York's Westchester County for the murder of Kathie, a presumed homicide that has been pointed to as the catalyst for his other killings. And while Westchester District Attorney Mimi Rocah called the development a “huge step forward” in the case, Kathie’s family is expressing anger over what they allege was a "cover up" that thwarted justice for decades.
“I think we basically made it very clear that we’re gonna go after everybody — lawyers, prosecutors, police, friends of Durst — who got paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to participate in this cover up,” Bob Abrams, who represents Kathie’s family, said at a news conference held outside the Westchester County courthouse on Tuesday, according to CT Insider.
He said that “sometime in December,” he and the family will “present all of the evidence that we have” to make that case. He said that most of it has already been shared with Rocah’s office.
Kathie’s brother James McCormack also spoke at the presser, emphasizing that he and his family have “serious questions and we deserve answers."
"Our family and our attorneys have provided DA Rocah and several of her predecessors with witnesses and evidence that prove Robert Durst murdered Kathie," he said. "Now more than ever it is important to ask why it took so long to get to this point.”
Kathie vanished in 1982 and while her body has never been found, a recent complaint accuses Durst of killing Kathleen, then 29, in their Lewisboro home before lying to police about her last moments alive.
Kathie's death has long been intertwined with other cases Durst has been connected to over the years.
Prosecutors pointed to her death as the catalyst for Durst's murder of longtime friend Susan Berman. They say he killed her after learning the prosecutors in New York wanted to reopen the Kathie's case and she had incriminating evidence that she was willing to share with authorities. Durst was convicted and sentenced to life for her slaying last month.
Durst also killed Morris Black in Texas in 2001. During the Berman trial, Durst testified that he'd fled to Texas when news broke that Kathie's case was being reopened. There, he bought a wig and hid out in a cheap apartment in Galveston, disguised as a mute woman. Durst became acquainted with Black, his neighbor. But that relationship, like several in Durst’s lives, ended in death and mystery. He shot him to death in 2001 before disposing of his dismembered remains in Galveston Bay. He claimed he shot Black in self-defense; the millionaire scion was acquitted of that murder at trial. Prosecutors at Berman's trial, put forth the theory that Durst killed Black because he'd discovered his true identity.
Kathie’s family alleged Tuesday that both Manhattan and Westchester district attorneys’ offices shielded the disgraced real estate heir for decades. They are also accusing the NYPD of incompetence.
Abrams has also threatened to begin releasing evidence of the alleged cover-up. "We intend to expose relationships that representatives of the Durst Organization and the Durst family have had with various law enforcement agencies," Abrams wrote in a Nov. 8 letter to Rocah.
He alleges that former Westchester District Attorney Jeanine Pirro met with Douglas Durst, the head of the Durst real estate empire, in 2003 and that shortly after, Pirro’s mentor, former New York Gov. George Pataki, received nearly $400,000 in campaign contributions from Douglas Durst and the Durst Organization.
"We want all the people involved to be held accountable," Abrams said.
While Durst is now indicted for Kathie's death, whether he'll be fit enough to stand trial isn't clear. A recent mugshot of Durst, obtained by Oxygen.com, shows the real estate heir looking frail while laying in bed.
Terry Thornton, deputy press secretary for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Deputy, recently told Oxygen.com that the killer was transferred to a medical facility earlier this month. Last month, it was reported that Durst was on a ventilator after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
Crime News is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxygen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for Oxygen Insider for all the best true crime content.