Robert Durst Investigated For Unsolved Murders In Three States
Investigators are reportedly looking into unsolved murder cases from areas where Robert Durst previously lived to see if there are any links.
A source told the L.A. Times that the FBI are working with local police in New York, Vermont, and Northern and Southern California to review cold cases. At this point there's no evidence linking the wealthy, 71-year-old New York real estate scion to these cases, but authorities want to see if there are any connections.
Recent media reports said that Durst, the subject of HBO's riveting docuseries, The Jinx, could be linked to the 1997 disappearances of two teens in Northern California. One was them is 18-year-old Kristen Modafferi, who went missing after she left work at a San Francisco coffee shop on June 23, 1997. She was a North Carolina State University student who was in the Bay Area just for the summer taking a course at UC Berkeley. Her family reportedly spoke to the FBI recently and brought up Durst. However, Oakland police told NBC Bay Area on Wednesday that they weren't able to find any evidence linking Durst to her disappearance.
As for the other case, Eureka, CA police are interested in talking to Durst in connection to the disappearance of 16-year-old Karen Mitchell. She went missing on Nov. 25, 1997 after leaving her aunt's shoe store in Eureka. Author Matt Birkbeck, who's written extensively on Durst, said that Durst frequented that shoe store and visited the homeless shelter Mitchell volunteered at. A composite sketch of a suspect last seen with Mitchell was a "spitting image of Durst," Birkbeck said.
NY Daily News unearthed a 2003 investigative report that linked Durst to the Mission, the homeless shelter Mitchell volunteered at. John Bradley, an investigator for the San Francisco District Attorney's Office, said he found out from a source that Durst would seek out prostitutes at homeless shelters. Bradley spoke to a homeless woman, Sheli Currier, asking about Mitchell. While she didn't know Mitchell, she recognized Durst in photos he showed her. A security guard introduced Durst to her "as a possible trick," Currier said.
Durst was arrested on Saturday in New Orleans, and charged on Monday for the 2000 murder of his close friend Susan Berman, who was found with a single bullet wound to her head in her Beverly Hills home. When authorities arrested him, they found Durst wearing a latex mask as a disguise with over $42,000 in cash and a gun in his possession.
The Jinx brought renewed interest to cases Durst has been linked to, which include another murder in Galveston, TX, and the disappearance of his wife, Kathleen Durst, in 1982—a case that's never been solved. Durst has never been convicted. One of his most highly-publicized and shocking cases was the 2001 death of his neighbor, Morris Black, in Galveston, TX. Durst was acquitted in the murder trial, claiming that he killed Black out of self defense, and then butchered his body parts, stuffed them in garbage bags and left them in a bay—because he was scared.
Durst has been in a Louisiana prison, waiting to be extradited to Los Angeles for hearing on Berman's death. However, he was moved to a mental facility because he's on suicide watch. He could face the death penalty.