Westchester DA: Top prosecutors assigned from cold case unit to interview witnesses, comb through evidence in Durst case
Westchester District Attorney Mimi Rocah is speaking out for the first time publicly since reopening a cold case that has mystified law enforcement agencies across the country for decades.
News 12's Tara Rosenblum first broke the story on the fresh look at the Kathie Durst case, which made national headlines this week.
It's been nearly 40 years since Kathie Durst vanished from South Salem.
Her body was never discovered, but Westchester District Attorney Mimi Rocah says her office has reopened the case, and now they're treating it as not just a disappearance - but a murder.
Kathie Durst was married to eccentric real estate heir Robert Durst at the time she went missing back in 1982.
Several of Rocah's predecessors have looked into the case, but no charges were ever filed - despite investigators' strong belief that Durst had allegedly killed her.
Rocah says she's assigned top prosecutors from her new cold case unit to interview new witnesses and comb through evidence.
"At the time that this alleged homicide occurred...we did not have the same understanding of domestic violence, and how that kind of abuse could play into relationships and how it could frankly color law enforcement -- and by that I mean police and prosecutors' perspectives. So we will investigate this...it is challenging to do it after so long and we want to do it right. This has been around, and the family obviously wants and needs closure, I think, a whole community wants and needs closure," says Rocah.
The district attorney added that her team is fully cooperating and in communication with the DA's office prosecuting the separate murder case against Durst out in California, where he's being tried for the execution of his best friend and confidant, Susan Berman back in 2000.
That trial is expected to last for weeks with several witnesses from Westchester County - and Kathie Durst's death is expected to play a central role.