Update: Durst may be connected to the 1971 disappearance of 18-year-old Lynne Schulze in Middlebury, Vermont. Read about it here.
Scarsdale native Robert Durst, best known for his suspected involvement in the disappearance of his wife Kathleen Durst in 1982, may have just incriminated himself during an interview for an HBO documentary about the case.
Durst has lived a pretty bizarre life. After his wife’s disappearance, he was linked to circumstantial evidence surrounding the death of journalist Susan Berman, and claimed to have killed his neighbor Morris Black — who was found decapitated in Galveston Bay, Texas — in self-defense.
Despite the team of legal investigators following him for his moves from New York to Los Angeles and Galveston, Durst was acquitted of all charges against him. However during the final moments of a six-part documentary series on HBO, The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, Durst seemed to veer towards a confession.
During an unguarded moment in which Durst was in the bathroom, still wearing a microphone from filming, it was recorded that he whispered, “What the hell did I do? Killed them all of course.” This prompted his arrest on Saturday in a Marriott in New Orleans, after the show’s producers agreed to an extensive series of interviews with Los Angeles prosecutors.
“These two producers did what law enforcement in three states could not do in 30 years,” Jeanine F. Pirro, the former Westchester County district attorney, whose office investigated Kathleen Durst’s disappearance for six years, said to The New York Times. “Kudos to them. They were meticulous. They were focused. They were clear.”
According to Lucian Chalfen, spokesperson for the Westchester District Attorney’s office, “The [Kathleen Durst case] in Westchester is an open homicide investigation.” The current hearings in Los Angeles are only focused on Susan Berman’s death, and while those prosecutors are working in conjunction with the Westchester office, there is no conclusive new information on Kathleen’s disappearance.
Durst’s brother, Douglas Durst, said in a statement, “We are relieved and also grateful to everyone who assisted in the arrest of Robert Durst. We hope he will finally be held accountable for all he has done.”
HBO said in a statement, “We simply cannot say enough about the brilliant job that Andrew Jarecki and Marc Smerling did in producing The Jinx. Years in the making, their thorough research and dogged reporting reignited interest in Robert Durst’s story with the public and law enforcement.”
The Jinx is not the first film adaptation of Durst’s life; the movie All Good Things was based on Kathleen’s disappearance, but included a DVD commentary in which Durst reveals the abusive nature of his relationship with Kathleen. He refers to the case but neither confirms nor denies involvement.
“That’s pretty damning stuff,” said Daniel J. Castleman, the former chief of investigations in the Manhattan district attorney’s office, to The Times. “The question is: Is it admissible in court?”