About Robert Durst: The Missing Pieces

When his wife, Kathie, disappeared in 1982, Robert Durst’s life became increasingly marked by strange and sinister events. After Kathie went missing, police began to suspect Durst’s involvement but were never able to nail down any substantive reason to arrest Durst for the crime. There was no body and nothing but hearsay and circumstantial evidence. Durst’s life took several odd turns following Kathie’s disappearance. He floated in and out of different addresses, never staying anywhere for very long. His only constant seemed to be his relationship with his friend, Susan Berman. Susan had met Robert at UCLA in the early ‘70s. The two shared similarly dysfunctional childhoods: Robert had been the son of an emotionally distant billionaire and Susan the daughter of famed mobster Davie Berman. Both Susan and Robert were eccentric offspring of extremely eccentric families. In 2000, Susan was found dead in her Los Angeles home, murdered in a way that suggested a mob-style execution. While there was no direct link to Robert Durst, he did happen to be living in California at the time. Complicating matters was an anonymous letter sent to the LAPD that alerted them to Susan’s murder: a letter written in handwriting resembling Robert’s. If Robert had killed Susan, what was the motive? The speculation is that Susan knew something about Kathie’s disappearance that would implicate Robert and, in order to silence his friend, Robert Durst killed Susan. In 2001, a seemingly unrelated murder is investigated in Galveston, Texas. Pieces of a body are found floating in Galveston Bay. The body parts belong to Morris Black, a man with almost no public records tied to his 72 years of life. It is soon discovered that Black was killed by his neighbor: a deaf, mute woman named Dorothy Ciner. Once Ciner is tracked down, it is revealed that “she” is actually Robert Durst in disguise. Galveston-based private detective Bobbi Bacha is hired by the local newspaper to look into the mysterious Morris Black and his ties to Robert Durst. She eventually finds Morris Black’s brother and begins for formulate a theory that she believes connects the dots from Morris Black to Susan Berman and, ultimately, Kathie Durst. The implications are disturbing and lead Bacha to wonder if there aren’t other bodies that could be connected to Robert Durst. Matt Birkbeck is a journalist who has doggedly pursued the Robert Durst story. His decade-plus spent researching the case has led him to similar conclusions. He believes Durst could be connected to the 1972 disappearance of Middlebury, Vermont resident Lynne Schulze and the 1998 disappearance of Eureka, California teenager Karen.

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