The family of presumably slain New York woman Kathleen “Kathie“ McCormack Durst, who disappeared at age 29 in 1982, filed a federal complaint on Monday against the widow of the man charged with murdering her. Robert Durst is dead and gone at 78, but Kathie’s relatives are targeting his estate. It has been 40 years to the day since she went missing.
Robert Durst recently died in California while locked up for murdering his friend Susan Berman, 55, in a 2000 execution-style slaying. Kathie’s sisters and their brother are going after Robert Durst’s second wife, Debrah Lee Charatan, as the nominated executor of his Texas-based estate. Though they continue to claim she participated in the cover up surrounding Kathleen Durst’s death and disappearance, the complaint is focused on the dead man’s money.
From the complaint:
27. On October 19, 2021, Investigator Joseph Becerra signed and filed a felony complaint (“the Criminal Complaint”) with the Town Court of the Town of Lewisboro, New York.
28. The Criminal Complaint charges Robert Durst with Murder in the Second Degree in violation of PL § 125.25(a) for the intentional killing of Kathie on January 31, 1982, at or near 62 Hoyt Street, South Salem, New York.
29. The filing of the Criminal Complaint constitutes the commencement of a criminal action against Robert Durst pursuant to CPLR § 1.20 with respect to the event or occurrence of wrongfully causing Kathie’s death.
30. On November 1, 2021, the Westchester District Attorney announced a grand jury in Westchester County, New York had indicted Defendant for the murder of Kathie.
31. The indictment returned against Robert Durst also independently constitutes the commencement of a criminal action against Robert Durst pertaining to Kathie’s death.
Prosecutors at Durst’s California trial said he killed Berman to keep her from talking to Westchester County investigators who just reopened the Kathleen Durst missing person case. Though he was acquitted of murder in a 2003 Texas trial, the California authorities continued to maintain that he also murdered Galveston neighbor Morris Black while trying to keep a low profile.
Kathleen Durst’s family has maintained and continue to assert that others, including Robert Durst’s family and Charatan, played a role in helping him evade capture all these years.
“We also note that, on this 40th anniversary of Kathie’s murder, Robert Durst’s second wife, Debrah Charatan, expects a Houston, Texas court to name her as the Executor of Robert Durst’s Last Will and Testament,” Robert Abrams, an attorney for Kathleen’s family, said in a statement. “Once she’s appointed, she will apparently seek to collect the balance of her husband’s interest in the Durst family Trusts, which we believe was promised to Ms. Charatan in exchange for helping Robert Durst evade justice in connection with the murders of Kathie, Susan Berman, and Morris Black.”
An attorney for Charatan did not immediately respond to a Law&Crime request for comment.
Robert Durst’s family has denied wrongdoing.
“Mr. Abrams has a long history of leveling hollow, baseless attacks without ever providing a single shred of documentation to substantiate his wild claims,” Durst organization spokesperson Jordan Barowitz said in a previous statement to The Associated Press when Abrams promised to file this lawsuit. “Time and time again, these accusations have been summarily dismissed and thrown out by the courts.”
[Booking photo via the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.]
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