Robert Durst Arrested with Latex Mask, Fake ID and More Than $42,000: Search Warrant

Durst, 71, was charged with the murder of his friend Susan Berman

Image
Photo: Marc Smerling/HBO

Robert Durst was apprehended with a latex mask, a fake ID and nearly $43,000 when he was arrested in New Orleans on Saturday, according to a search warrant filed Tuesday.

A loaded revolver was also found in his hotel room, as well as marijuana, the warrant states.

A law enforcement source previously suggested to PEOPLE that the real estate scion, who’s been connected to three bizarre crimes – including the 1982 disappearance of his first wife, Kathleen Durst – was planning to flee the country.

“It was obvious that he planned to get the hell out of Dodge,” the source said. “It was the first day that the New Orleans airport was offering flights to Cuba, so that’s where we think he was going.”

Durst, 71, was charged with the Los Angeles murder of his friend Susan Berman on Saturday, just a day before he allegedly admitted that he “killed them all, of course” on the HBO docuseries The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst.

On the show, a handwriting comparison between the so-called “cadaver letter” – a note sent to police in December 2000 informing them of the location of Berman’s body – and another letter sent by Durst to Berman seemed to indicate that the two letters were written by the same person, down to the misspelling of “Beverley Hills Police.”

But it would appear that police made that connection previously, though an error made by an LAPD analyst delayed the case against Durst, according to the warrant.

Initially, police were looking into Berman’s manager Nyle Brenner as a suspect. A handwriting comparison between samples taken from Brenner and the cadaver letter led LAPD handwriting analyst William Leaver to conclude that it was “highly probable” Brenner had written the cadaver letter.

However, this was before Durst was identified as a potential suspect. Once police looked onto him, Leaver compared samples of Durst’s handwriting and the cadaver letter. “It is probable that the questioned writing on the envelope and note was written by [Durst],” he concluded, according to the warrant.

The problem? The LAPD had now identified two suspects who could have written the incriminating note. With little other evidence against Durst, the case went cold and in the meantime, Durst was arrested in Galveston, Texas, and charged with murder there.

In September 2014, Leaver’s supervisor admitted that she “rubber stamped” his initial report tying the letter to Brenner. Investigators then took the letter and Durst’s known handwriting samples to analysts outside the LAPD. Both identified Durst as the author of the cadaver letter, reigniting the case.

Durst is currently awaiting extradition to Los Angeles.

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.

Related Articles