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Family of missing woman sues real estate heir Robert Durst

Robert Durst is escorted into the courtroom for

Robert Durst is escorted into the courtroom for a parole revocation hearing held by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, Friday, Jan. 13, 2006, in Houston. Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS / DAVID J. PHILLIP

The mother and sisters of Kathleen Durst, a former New Hyde Park resident who disappeared in 1982, filed a lawsuit Monday asking for more than $100 million from the real estate heir they believe killed her.

Kathleen Durst, 29, was last seen leaving a Westchester party in 1982 after getting a call from her husband, Robert Durst, grandson of the founder of Manhattan-based The Durst Organization. Although legally declared dead in 1988, Kathleen Durst's body was never found.

The suit, filed by her mother, Ann McCormack, of New Hyde Park, and her three daughters, accuses Durst, 72, and held in Louisiana on gun and drug charges, of hiding her body and depriving them of the right to dispose of her remains.

"Durst intentionally lied to investigators regarding his knowledge that Kathleen was already dead in order to prevent plaintiffs from recovering her body," the suit said.

Durst's criminal attorney, Dick DeGuerin of Texas, said he had seen the suit but was not representing him on it. "There is no evidence, zero evidence, that Robert Durst had anything to do with the disappearance of Kathleen Durst," DeGuerin said.

The suit follows the airing of an HBO documentary, "The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst," in which Durst appears unaware his microphone is on when he mumbles: "What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course."

Authorities believe he is referring to Kathleen Durst and the killings of his friend, Susan Berman, in Los Angeles and a neighbor in Texas, Morris Black, 71. Durst was acquitted of killing Black, though he admitted accidentally shooting and dismembering Black in a panic in 2001. He faces murder charges in the Berman case.

The suit was filed in State Supreme Court in Nassau by McCormack, 101, and daughters Carol Baumonte, Mary Hughes and Virginia McKeon. They are asking for at least $50 million in compensation and general damages, and $50 million in punitive damages.

Kathleen Durst's brother, Jim McCormack of New Jersey, filed a wrongful-death suit against Durst in October.

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