Police investigating Robert Durst's connection to 1971 disappearance of female college student | EW.com

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Police investigating Robert Durst's connection to 1971 disappearance of female college student

(Pat Sullivan/AP Photo)

Vermont police announced Monday that they’ve been investigating the connection between real estate heir Robert Durst and the 1971 disappearance of 18-year-old Middlebury College student Lynne Schulze.

Schulze went missing on Dec. 10, 1971, and her disappearance was reported to the police six days later by her parents.

On the day of her disappearance, she is confirmed to have visited health food store All Good Things, which Durst, subject of HBO’s The Jinx, owned in 1971. He was in Middlebury for under two years, the police noted.

That same day, Schulze was seen at a bus stop trying to board a bus to New York, and she skipped a final exam.

“It’s been conjecture to assume that she was planning to drop out,” Middlebury Police Chief Thomas Hanley said during a press conference on Tuesday.

The Middlebury Police Department reopened the case in 1992 after noticing some things in the case that needed “significant follow up,” Hanley said.

Since then, the police have started from scratch and re-interviewed people tied with the case.

Durst’s name was first brought into the investigation when the police department received a tip from a resident in 2012.

Following the tip, Kristine Bowdish, the lead detective on the case, said that the department searched the home Durst lived in during the time he owned the store in Middlebury from 1971-72, but didn’t find anything pertinent to the investigation. They have not spoken with Durst.

With Schulze’s body still missing, Hanley said the case is a “possible homicide.” “We can assume at this point that there was some wrongdoing involved,” he adds.

Still, the strongest connection remains that Schulze and Durst, who’s charged with killing a woman 15 years ago in Los Angeles, were in a similar location around the same day 44 years ago. (Earlier Tuesday, Durst’s lawyer Dick DeGuerin told NBC’s Today that Durst was “tricked” by the HBO filmmakers into confessing to the murders to which he’s been accused).

“We don’t know if they ever had some personal contact,” Hanley said. “Just that they were in same vicinity at same time.”

Despite the difficulty of dealing with 44-year-old memories, Bowdish said she welcomes discussion with anyone who knew Schulze, and will continue to work with other agencies, such as the FBI, to uncover any and all relevant information. The department is also considering all leads at this time. 

“I would love to bring some resolution to this,” Bowdish said, “whether it’s with Robert Durst or another lead.”