Lynne Schulze was a 17-year-old student at Middlebury College when she went missing, according to The Charley Project, a website that tracks missing person cases. She is from Simsbury, Connecticut.
Police did not name Durst as a suspect, but Police Chief Tom Hanley said at a press conference Tuesday he is a “person that is very interesting to us.”
Durst, 71, a millionaire heir to a New York real estate fortune and the subject of a HBO documentary series about his connection to three killings, was arrested on Los Angeles murder charges in the death of his friend Susan Berman, who was killed in 2000 before she was scheduled to talk to New York prosecutors about the disappearance of Durst’s wife. Durst had long been a suspect in his wife’s case after she went missing in 1982. Durst was also charged and acquitted in the 2001 murder of a man in Galveston, Texas, where he had been living.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Police Are Calling It an ‘Ongoing Criminal Investigation’
Police released few details other than saying Durst is being looked at as part of an “ongoing criminal investigation,” the Boston news station WCVB reported.
The case was re-opened in 1992. Police said in a press release, “We are aware of the connection between Robert Durst and the disappearance of Lynne Schulze. We have been aware of this connection for several years and have been working with various outside agencies as we follow this lead.”
Police asked anyone with information to call 802-388-3191.
According to the New Hampshire Union Leader, authorities in both New Hampshire and Vermont are examining unsolved cases for connections to Durst. The FBI sent an advisory to locations where Durst has lived over the past 50 years. Cold cases are also being looked at in the San Francisco area, southern California and upstate New York.
New Hampshire Assistant Attorney General Benjamin Agati told the Union Leader:
As a unit, we’ve decided to examine our cases as well, though I couldn’t say we’re looking at any specific cases or certain locations. We’re just taking another look at them, in light of the advisory and the fact the Vermont is doing the same.
New Hampshire and Vermont share a series of unsolved killings known as the “Connecticut River Valley Killings,” seven unsolved homicides that occurred in the New England states in the early 1980s, according to the Union Leader.
Police in California are examining Durst’s involvement in the disappearance of two northern California teens who went missing in 1997, according to LAist.com. Karen Mitchell, 16, went missing from her home in Eureka, California in November 1997. She volunteered at a homeless shelter the day she was last seen, a place where Durst had been spotted before. In the other case, 18-year-old Kristen Modafferi vanished June 23, 1997 after leaving work in San Francisco. Durst was living there at the time
In the Mitchell case, investigators said they want to talk to Durst. In the Modafferi case, her family says Durst was previously investigated, but it didn’t go anywhere. The family mentioned Durst to investigators just a few months ago, according to LAist.
2. Schulze Was Last Seen Near Durst’s Health Food Store
According to Middlebury police, Durst was running a health food store in Middlebury at the time of Schulze’s disappearance. The store was called “All Good Things.” He was 28 at the time.
Police said Tuesday at a press conference that Schulze was last seen standing across the street from the store at a gas station. She was earlier seen outside the store eating dried prunes she had purchased at All Good Things, police said, according to the Burlington Free Press.
Police said they do not believe Durst was questioned in 1971, but investigators have known about his link to the town since about 2012. Police said investigators searched a home where Durst once lived last year. The chief said it was not in Middlebury, but wouldn’t say where it was.
“It has been frustrating. We are following the latest news on Durst like you are. We are trying to get as many memories going as possible,” the chief, Hanley said, according to the LA Times.
3. Schulze’s Friends Said She Never Showed Up For an Exam
According to The Charley Project, Schulze was seen leaving her Middlebury College dorm on Dec. 10, 1971, the final day of exams before Christmas break.
The website says Schulze was going to her English Drama exam when she told friends she was returning to her dorm to get a lucky pen. She was never seen again.
Schulze, a freshman at the college, 5’3″ and 115 pounds with light brown hair and blue eyes. She had severe acne at the time she went missing.
According The Charley Project, Schulze was possibly depressed at the time she went missing and had told her friends she was considering faking her own death and starting a new life, but they said she was not being serious. Letters written home indicated homesickness and the possibility she would drop out of school, but not that she planned to vanish. She had registered for spring classes.
She had about $30 with her when she went missing, but left her identification, checkboook and personal belongings in her dorm. Campus police were alerted to her disappearance two days after she was last seen, but her parents weren’t notified for a week, according to the website. There were sightings of Schulze after she went missing, but none led anywhere, and though several people made confessions about their involvement in the case, all turned out to be false, according to The Charley Project. Her family believes she died days after she vanished.
Schulze’s parents died in the 1990s, but her sister is still alive and has kept up hope that the case will be solved or her sister will be found.
4. Durst Was Denied Bond in New Orleans
Durst was arrested Saturday in New Orleans by FBI agents.
According to The Associated Press, Durst appeared in court in New Orleans on Monday for a bond hearing. A judge denied his attorney’s attempt to free his client, who is expected to be extradited to Los Angeles to face the murder charge.
Prosecutors said police found in the hotel several items, including Durst’s passport, apparently fake Texas IDs, stacks of $100 bills, marijuana, a .38 caliber revolver, a map folded to show Louisiana and Cuba, and a flesh-toned max with salt-and-pepper hair.
5. He Is Facing the Death Penalty in California
Durst was charged March 16 by the Los Angeles County District Attorney with first-degree murder, with the special circumstances of lying in wait and murder of a witness. Durst is eligible for the death penalty, but prosecutors said they will decide later whether to seek death.