Robert Durst Faces Civil Lawsuit from Missing First Wife's Family

Durst has long maintained his innocence in his wife's disappearance

Photo: Reuters/Landov

The family of Robert Durst’s first wife – who hasn’t been seen or heard from since 1982 – filed paperwork with a New York court on Thursday declaring their plans to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the 72-year-old real estate scion.

Alex Spiro, the Manhattan attorney hired to represent Kathleen Durst’s relatives, tells PEOPLE this week’s legal move by the McCormacks – appointing a new administrator to handle the missing woman’s estate – is a first step towards impending civil action against the suspected murderer. (Durst has never been charged in Kathleen’s disappearance.)

According to a copy of the filing, obtained by PEOPLE, Kathleen’s 101-year-old mother, Ann, had been the estate’s original administrator.

But her advanced age makes it “extremely difficult for her to act as administrator.” Kathleen’s brother, James, is the new administrator for his sister’s estate.

“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,” the filing reads.

Durst is currently being held in New Orleans on gun charges, while Los Angeles police have named him a suspect in the murder of his longtime confidante Susan Berman in 2000. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him.

Durst, who has long maintained his innocence in his wife’s disappearance and Berman’s homicide, is worth more than $110 million.

Durst served as the subject of a six-part documentary series, The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst and was arrested this spring soon HBO aired the final episode of the Emmy-winning program.

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