The Real Deal New York

Robert Durst faces $100M lawsuit over first wife’s disappearance

McCormack family members claim real estate heir murdered her

November 30, 2015 06:02PM

Robert Durst Kathleen McCormack

From left: Kathleen McCormack Durst and Robert Durst

The mother and three sisters of Robert Durst’s first wife, Kathleen McCormack, are suing the real estate heir for $100 million over her disappearance more than 30 years ago.

In the suit filed Monday in New York State Supreme Court in Mineola, the plaintiffs claim that Robert Durst murdered Kathleen and hid the body, violating “sepulcher,” a New York law that states family members have an immediate right to bury a dead relative. If successful, the suit could wipe out Robert Durst’s wealth, which has so far withstood decades of trials and murder allegations. Authorities have estimated Durst’s net worth is about $100 million. 

Kathleen McCormack disappeared in 1982, becoming the first of several deaths and disappearances linked to Robert Durst, brother of the Durst Organization’s president Douglas Durst.

In “The Jinx,” a recent HBO documentary miniseries about his life, Robert Durst admitted on camera that he lied about his whereabouts on the night of McCormack’s disappearance. The documentary also questioned the Durst family’s role in the aftermath of her disappearance, suggesting it covered up evidence implicating Robert. He was never charged.

The 72-year-old Robert Durst is currently in prison in New Orleans on gun charges and is facing trial in Los Angeles for the alleged murder of his friend Susan Berman in 2000. In 2001, he killed his Texas neighbor Morris Black, but was acquitted after successfully claiming self-defense. [NYT] — Konrad Putzier