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New York grand jury indicts Robert Durst with second-degree murder in wife's 1982 disappearance

Robert Durst sentenced to life in prison
Robert Durst sentenced to life in prison 00:21

A grand jury in Westchester, New York, on Monday indicted Robert Durst on second-degree murder charges in the disappearance of his first wife, Kathleen, decades after she was last seen and after he was convicted in September of the 2000 murder of friend Susan Berman. 

Durst faces a charge of murder in the second degree, brought by Westchester County District Attorney Miriam E. Rocah. Rocah's office initially announced they had convened a grand jury to review the charge in late October. 

"The District Attorney's Office reinvigorated its investigation into Robert Durst just 10 months ago when I took Office, launched the Cold Case Bureau, and dedicated the resources and skill that I thought this case deserved," Rocah said in a statement.

A warrant has been issued for Durst's arrest. He was sentenced last month at the age of 78 to life in prison without parole after a jury found him guilty of the murder of Berman, a confidante whom prosecutors alleged helped him cover up Kathie Durst's killing. Los Angeles prosecutors say Durst shot her in 2000 before she could tell police.

Investigators had long suspected Durst murdered his wife. Kathleen Durst was 29 when she vanished from her South Salem, New York, home on January 31, 1982.

robert durst trial sentencing susan berman
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 14: Robert Durst was sentenced to life without possibility of parole for the killing of Susan Berman. Photographed in Airport Courthouse on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021 in Los Angeles, CA. (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images) Myung J. Chun

Her body was never found, but at the request of her family, she was declared legally dead in 2017. Durst filed for divorce from Kathleen in 1990, citing abandonment.

He was never charged in her disappearance despite several efforts over the years to close the case. Authorities had reopened it in 1999 and searched a lake and their home.

"For nearly four decades there has been a great deal of speculation about this case, much of it fueled by Robert Durst's own highly publicized statements," Rocah said. "An indictment is a crucial step in the process of holding wrongdoers accountable for their actions."

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