Family of Robert Durst’s Missing Wife to File Wrongful Death Suit

Real Estate Heir Weapons Charges

The family of Kathleen McCormack, the missing first wife of real estate heir Robert Durst, is working to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the troubled murder suspect, NBC News reported Thursday night. 

A petition was filed to give James McCormack, the brother of Durst's first wife, authority over his sister's estate, according to a file obtained by NBC News.

"The reason James McCormack wishes to be appointed administrator at this time is to commence a possible wrongful death action against the decedent's husband, Robert Durst," Alex Spiro, McCormack's lawyer, wrote in the petition filed in Surrogate's Court of New York County on Thursday.

In 1981, Kathleen McCormack accused Durst of physical abuse and filed for a divorce. In 1982, Durst was suspected in McCormack's disappearance but was never charged due to lack of evidence. His wife's body was never found but she was legally declared dead in 2001, according to NBC News.

Durst, an estranged member of the family that runs 1 World Trade Center in New York, faces a murder trial in California in the death of his friend and onetime spokeswoman Susan Berman in 2000. 

Last March, Durst was detained at a hotel in Louisiana on the night before the finale of a six-part HBO documentary about him, the disappearance of McCormack in 1982, Berman's death and the death and dismemberment of a neighbor, Morris Black, in Galveston in 2001.

In the finale of the documentary, "The Jinx: The Life and Death of Robert Durst," the real estate heir is wearing a hot mic when he says: "What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course."

Durst is still in a Louisiana lockup awaiting trial Jan. 11 on a federal charge that he illegally possessed a .38-caliber revolver after being convicted of a felony.

"Anybody can file a lawsuit, but you have no evidence and there is no evidence," Durst's defense attorney, Dick DeGuerin told NBC News about the petition filed by McCormack's brother. "There's a craftily edited television show and there's nothing else."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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