Updated: Police following link between Durst and Middlebury College student missing since 1971
MIDDLEBURY — News of the arrest on March 15 of New York City real estate heir Robert Durst on a first-degree murder charge is reverberating to Middlebury, where Durst owned and operated the health food store “All Good Things” in the early 1970s.
Middlebury police are making note that this was around the same time that Middlebury College student Lynne Schulze disappeared on Dec. 10, 1971.
“We are aware of the connection between Robert Durst and the disappearance of Lynne Schulze,” reads a written statement provided to the Independent from Middlebury Police Chief Tom Hanley. “We have been aware of this connection for several years and have been working with various outside agencies as we follow this lead. Robert Durst owned and operated the ‘All Good Things’ health food store in Middlebury at the same time that 18-year-old Lynne Schulze, a Middlebury College student, was reported missing in 1971. This is an ongoing criminal investigation and the Middlebury Police Department is not releasing any other details.”
Middlebury police Det. Kris Bowdish is lead investigator on the Schulze case, reopened in 1992.
“The case has been continuously generating leads since the investigation was re-opened,” Hanley stated.
The Independent has written extensively about what is arguably Middlebury’s most notorious cold case.
Schulze was 18, rounding out her first semester at Middlebury, when she was last seen walking to an exam hall. She suddenly told her friends she needed to run back to her dorm room to get a pencil.
That’s when Schulze disappeared into thin air. Authorities found all of Schulze’s possessions — including her wallet — still inside her room. Police throughout the region searched in vain for the young woman, whom the Middlebury Campus newspaper reported on Jan. 28, 1972, as having been seen on Route 7, presumably hitchhiking.
But Bowdish's investigation indicated Schulze was last seen at 2:25 p.m. by a Middlebury College student, on Route 7, across from the bus station (which was then at 15 Court St. at the location of what is now the Sargent House).
The student reported that Schulze was simply standing at the location and showed no signs of hitchhiking. Bowdish said during a 2012 interview that Schulze, who traveled off campus often, may have been preparing to take a bus somewhere.
Another student reported having seen Schulze at the bus station earlier that day eating some dried prunes she had purchased at a nearby local food store - ostensibly All Good Things. The student allegedly asked Schulze where she was going and she replied, "New York," but she missed her bus and was believed to have headed back to campus, according to Bowdish's investigation.
The trail got colder over the years, but the Schulze family and Middlebury police have kept the case open.
Los Angeles prosecutors have formally charged Durst with first-degree murder in the 2000 death of Susan Berman. Berman was a friend of Durst’s. She was found shot to death in her home in Benedict Canyon, Calif. Durst was the subject of an HBO documentary series called, “The Jinx.” He was arrested at the end of the airing of that series.
The maker of “The Jinx,” documentarian Andrew Jarecki, in 2010 released a movie called “All Good Things” that starred Ryan Gosling. Many say this movie was a thinly veiled story about Durst.
Bowdish stressed that there is no evidence at this point linking Durst to Schulze’s disappearance; it’s simply that their Middlebury timelines coincide. Middlebury police have not at this point requested that Durst be questioned in connection with the Schulze disappearance.
The investigation into this case, and the Robert Durst connection, is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to contact the Middlebury Police Department at 802-388-3191 or Detective Kris Bowdish by email at [email protected].
The investigation of this case, case number 92-MB-1939, is an open investigation and is not subject to Freedom of Information Act requests, according to Hanley.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].