DA: Missed opportunities by law enforcement may have delayed prosecution of Robert Durst
Missed opportunities by law enforcement in the beginning of the investigation into the disappearance of Kathie Durst may have contributed to the delay in the prosecution of her husband, Scarsdale real estate heir Robert Durst.
Those are the conclusions of an investigation conducted by the Westchester DA Cold Case Bureau in conjunction with state police.
District Attorney Mimi Rocah released the results of the more than yearlong investigation.
Robert Durst was charged last month in the murder of Kathie Durst, who was last seen at the couple's home in South Salem in 1982. He died last week before he could be brought to trial.
Among other things, Rocah says the investigation found that Durst made contradictory statements to police including about domestic violence incidents. Rocah also pointed the finger at NYPD detectives who failed to treat the wealthy real estate scion as an initial suspect.
It wasn't until 20 years later that accounts by eyewitnesses who said they saw Kathie Durst in Manhattan after she disappeared were debunked.
Rocah says that Robert Durst's Los Angeles conviction in the murder of his friend, Susan Berman, provided evidence that he admitted to Susan Berman that he killed Kathie Durst. Durst died last week before the case could ever head to trial, leaving New York State Police investigator Joseph Becerra, who spent 20 years probing Durst, no closer to finding the murder weapon or Kathie Durst's remains.
Rocah and others at the news conference expressed sadness that Kathie Durst's remains have never been found.
The attorney for Kathie Durst's surviving family members says he'll hold a news conference of his own in front of the County Courthouse on Jan. 31, the 40th anniversary of her disappearance. Bob Abrams called for Rocah to resign, claiming that she was part of a cover-up that allowed Durst to avoid justice. He says Kathie Durst's relatives were not invited to the news conference.
MORE: Full News Conference
Full statement from Bob Abrams:
"The McCormack family and their attorneys were not invited to DA Rocah’s press conference. No one from the Westchester District Attorney’s Office even informed the McCormack family that DA Rocah was having a press conference today.
There is absolutely no doubt that Robert Durst murdered Kathie in South Salem, New York on January 31, 1982. The evidence to prove this beyond a reasonable doubt has been available for almost forty (40) years. There have been numerous individuals, including members of the Durst family, that have knowingly and intentionally participated in a criminal conspiracy to help Robert Durst avoid prosecution. Today, the Westchester County District Attorney has sanctioned those illegal acts and attempted to explain away how money, power, and influence allowed a killer to escape justice. Through her misrepresentations and omissions, DA Rocah must now be considered part of the cover-up. She should resign immediately.
Had the McCormack family been invited to today’s press conference, they would have explained not only the impact that Kathie’s murder has had on their lives, but also the damage that has resulted from law enforcement's failure to treat the victims of this crime as equal before the law.
The McCormack family will further address this and other issues on January 31, 2022, the 40th anniversary of Kathie’s murder. In the interim, we ask the public to consider why the current Westchester DA and her predecessors remain unwilling to tell the truth about why it took nearly forty years for Robert Durst to be charged."