Judge officially declares Kathleen Durst dead

Robert Durst remains the only suspect in her 1982 disappearance

Kathleen and Robert Durst
Kathleen and Robert Durst

More than three decades after she first disappeared, Robert Durst’s first wife Kathleen has been officially declared dead by a Manhattan judge.

The decision, made public Thursday, according to the New York Post, paves the way for her siblings to launch a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against Robert, whom they believe killed her. Robert received a $65 million payout in 2007 in exchange for cutting ties with his family.

While Durst has never been charged in connection to her disappearance and presumed death, he is still the only suspect in the case. In 2015, HBO docu-drama “the Jinx” showed Robert muttering what appeared to be a murder confession. He was arrested in New Orleans after the program aired, and has since claimed he was high on methamphetamine during the filming.

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Manhattan Surrogate Court judge Nora Anderson ruled Kathleen’s death date as Jan. 31 1982, according to the newspaper. That day was the last time the then-29-year-old was seen by Robert at their shared home in Westchester County.

The former heir to the Durst family fortune is serving a seven-year prison sentence for possession of a firearm, and facing trial in Los Angles for the murder of his friend Susan Berman.

Prosecutors say Robert murdered Berman in 2000 to prevent her from helping police with the investigation into Kathie’s death. He denied killing Berman.

He was acquitted of murdering his elderly neighbor Morris Black in Galveston, Texas in 2003. [NYP] — Miriam Hall