Who were Robert Durst's wives? Serial killer hasn't spoken to second wife since 2015

Who were Robert Durst's wives? Serial killer hasn't spoken to second wife since 2015
Kathleen McCormack and Robert Durst (HBO) and Debrah Lee Charatan (Debra Lee website)

Famous serial killer Robert Durst is dead, according to his lawyer. Chip Lewis confirmed the millionaire died of a cardiac arrest while in prison at the age of 78 on January 10, 2022. It brings to an end one of the most notorious serial killers to date, who was only caught thanks to a hot-mic moment on an HBO documentary.

Durst was serving a life prison sentence for the murder of his friend Susan Berman, to which he pleaded guilty in September 2021. Lewis confirmed that he died of natural causes, owing to the multiple health issues he suffered from, including the possible after-effects of Covid-19. Famously, he was acquitted of the killing of Morris Black, a neighbor of Durst's while he was hiding out in Texas. 


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But of all of the people linked to Durst, perhaps the most famous is without a doubt Kathleen McCormack, his first wife. The serial killer is accused of killing McCormack, but the case was never solved. Despite the mysterious fate, it appears Durst had no issues getting married again, as he did in 2000 to Debrah Lee Charatan. In light of Durst's deaths, here's a look at both his wives and their lives to date.

Robert Durst in his wheelchair as he appears in an Inglewood courtroom on September 8, 2021, in Inglewood, California. (Al Seib - Pool/Getty Images)


The mysterious Kathleen McCormack

Before disappearing in 1982, 'Kathie' was a 29-year-old in the final months of medical school and close to being a pediatrician, as well as being in a broken marriage to Durst. Reportedly, his efforts to "control" her led to repeated quarreling and violence. She graduated school from Long Island, then trained as a dental hygienist. The two met after Kathie moved to a building owned by the Durst family, leading to "instant attraction" when she was just 19. 

Shortly after their second date, Durst asked Kathie to move to Vermont with him to run a health food store. A short while later, the couple returned to New York City under pressure from Durst's father and got married in 1973. Things reportedly went "really south" in 1976, when Kathie was forced to have an abortion because Durst didn't want children. By 1980, the duo "quarreled frequently", leading Kathie to seek a divorce lawyer. It led Durst to cut off her credit cards, and engage in more physical confrontations. 

Then in 1982, Kathie mysteriously vanished without a trace, with Durst claiming she ran away with a drug dealer. She was officially declared dead in 2017, but a body was never found. The fate of Kathie remains a big mystery, and it appears a secret Durst has taken to his grave.

Durst's second marriage

Despite the publicity surrounding Kathie's disappearance, it appears Durst managed to charm another woman - Debrah Charatan. They first met in the 1980s, after Kathie vanished but only got married in a very secret ceremony in December 2000. Another NYC Native, Charatan is a real estate agent who runs BCB Property Management with her son from another marriage. Starting out as a secretary, Charatan made a name for herself with her first firm Bach Realty, going on to be heavily profiled in the press.

Debrah Lee Charatan speaks to the press. (Debrah Charatan/Twitter)


While she did support Durst during his 2003 trial, it appears things haven't been that great between the two of late. The Sun reported that the couple stopped talking in 2015 after the documentary about him aired. It is however unclear if the two ever divorced, as she's maintained quite a distance from him and his legal woes since then. But, it appears Charatan is no stranger to scandal herself. Reportedly, she lived with attorney Steve Holm, whom she called her husband and "soul mate" while being married to Durst. 

The revelation led to allegations Durst and Charatan were only married out of "convenience" since he needed someone to handle his finances and carry on his affairs if he was ever caught. Lawyer Robert Abrams, who represents Kathie wrote in a March 2020 letter to the Manhattan DA, "Their marriage was part of a scheme," and said they only asserted spousal privileges when "dealing with law enforcement". Charatan later denied ever being married to Holm, who died in 2019. 

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