Debrah Charatan: Where is Robert Durst’s Wife Now?

If there’s one thing absolutely nobody can deny, it’s that Robert Alan Durst’s second wife, Debrah Lee Charatan, was an integral part of his life at nearly every step of the way since the 1980s. This much is actually even evidenced in HBO’s ‘The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst’ plus ‘The Jinx: Part Two,’ which explores this titular figure’s journey from an heir to a murderer. In fact, the latter even specifies she was the first to come see him following his March 2015 FBI arrest — a mere day before the former’s finale premiered — before remaining his beneficiary.

Who is Debrah Charatan?

Although reportedly born and raised in New York into a comfortable, happy, stable family, Debrah has always known the true meaning of hard work, integrity, passion, as well as resilience. That’s because her parents not only survived the brutal Nazis in Europe during World War I but also lost all sense of security before ultimately meeting, marrying, and immigrating to the US. It was here that they built their family while rarely reflecting upon their past, enabling their little girl to follow in their footsteps in terms of being a fierce, independent, strong-minded woman.

Debrah thus kickstarted her career while still a teen in the 1970s, slowly rising from a real estate secretary to a property manager, and she did it all as she was putting herself through school. She actually graduated from Baruch College, following which she went on to achieve new heights by establishing her own brokerage by the name of Bach Realty right in New York City in 1980. Yet little did anyone know that though she earned a lot of acclaim in the ensuing decade for this firm’s financial success plus its all-women sales team, the work culture she’d created was toxic.

According to one of Debrah’s employees/her second husband’s best friend’s wife, Terry Chavin, she was a bit rigid in terms of her rules and regulations, all the while having weird routines in place. In fact, per the aforementioned original’s second installment, she went as far as to personally sniff her workers’ armpits every single day to ensure they had no odor — if they did, they were sent home to shower again. She was hence undoubtedly ambitious but distrusting, resulting in her often coming across as closed off and strategic, which is arguably why Robert Durst reportedly never lied to/manipulated her.

It turns out Debrah had first come across Robert upon being introduced through a mutual friend at a real estate dinner in 1988, just for them to soon evolve into friends and then much more. The latter was technically married to Kathleen “Kathie” McCormack at the time, yet around six years earlier, in 1982, she’d suddenly disappeared off the face of this Earth without a trace left behind. The fact her case remained (and still remains) unsolved didn’t help matters either, especially since he was considered a suspect, but he did manage to divorce her in 1990, citing spousal abandonment.

Nevertheless, the truth is that Debrah and Robert had been building a tight bond from the get-go as if no one else mattered, connecting over the many tragedies to have plagued their respective lives. While she came from a survivors’ household and was going through an animous divorce in 1988, his mother had sadly died by suicide when he was 7 plus his father had lost a foot in a land mine explosion. Yet alas, per reports, this couple only lived together for a short stint — they then remained in close touch, but he regularly moved between different states, whereas she stayed in New York.

It was thus on December 11, 2000, when Debrah and Robert tied the knot in a small ceremony in city hall, just shortly after investigations into Kathie’s mysterious disappearance reopened. Moreover, and more importantly, these events also took place merely 13 days prior to when the latter’s long-time friend/trusted confidant, Susan Berman, was found murdered inside her own home. Therefore, of course, many believe the sole reason he married this brilliant yet loyal realtor was to ensure he could give her power of attorney if he wound up in prison in connection to either case.

Robert was actually arrested in October 2001, but it was for an unrelated third case, the killing as well as dismemberment of his elderly neighbor in Galveston, 71-year-old Morris Black. The renowned heir was acquitted for this in 2003, yet he’d already testified, “I wanted Debbie to be able to receive my inheritance, and I intended to kill myself [if officials shows up at my door for Katie].” Though on the other hand, his second wife Debrah had carefully asserted, “It was our understanding that unless I was married to him, I couldn’t benefit from any of the trusts [or cash or assets].”

It hence comes as no surprise Debrah often visited Robert while he was behind bars, not only while awaiting his 2003 jury trial but also following his 2015 federal arrest for Susan’s cold murder. They seemingly weren’t romantically involved anymore since he did form ties with others over the years, yet they remained legally married as friends — it’s why she could tell him she thought ‘The Jinx’ was a bad idea. Little did he know his wife would be utterly right because it all ended with his conviction for Susan’s murder, that is, until he died of a cardiac arrest on January 10, 2022, at 78 — with her as his heir.

Debrah Chataran is Leading a Happy Life

Despite the fact Debrah has been ordered not to touch Robert’s $100 million estate owing to the McCormack family’s active wrongful death lawsuit against it for Kathie, she is leading a good life today. That’s despite her apparent decision to never settle this case, per the show. After all, she is a proud realtor as well as entrepreneur who not only ran Bach Realty until 1993 but also owned-operated Debrah Lee Charatan Realty for over 15 years before launching BCB Property Management. The latter is actually a complete spectrum property development and management organization she established in 2011, at which she still serves as a proud Founder, President, and Principal.

It’s even imperative to note that Debrah has many philanthropic endeavors under her belt, wherein she provides support to a wide range of cultural, humanitarian, and civic causes through her Charatan Family Foundation. These include organizations such as the Chabad of Southampton, the Park East Synagogue, the Jewish Museum, the Central Park Conservancy, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, plus the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation. Furthermore, this Manhattan native is the chair of the board of trustees of the Selfhelp Community Services Foundation as well as a member of the Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation.

Read More: Morris Black: How Did He Die? Who Killed Him?