A Northern California police department is interested in speaking with the law enforcement agencies that have investigated New York real estate heir Robert Durst in connection with a teenage girl who went missing in the late 90s, police told NBC News on Tuesday.
Eureka police chief Andy Mills told NBC News Tuesday his department is interested in talking to law enforcement agencies who investigated Durst, who was charged Monday in Los Angeles with the 2000 murder of writer Susan Berman.
Karen Mitchell was 16 when she went missing from Eureka, California, in 1997. She was never found. Mills said the Mitchell case was officially considered a missing persons case, not a homicide. But there were questions.
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"We believe she met foul play, but we do not know that for sure," Mills told NBC News.
He noted that there was a lot more to investigate.
"Based on the timing when he (Durst) was allegedly here, the Eureka Police Department is very interested in learning more and will reach out to the appropriate investigative departments to learn what we can to facilitate this case," Mills said. "I caution people about reaching too far too quickly."
The news came as police were searching the Houston home of Durst after the 71-year-old was arrested in New Orleans over the weekend.
Durst is charged with murder in a LA killing 15 years ago, and has been investigated — but never charged — in the disappearance of his first wife in New York. In 2003, he was acquitted of murder in his neighbor's dismemberment death in Texas.
Tuesday afternoon, a marked Houston police car and several unmarked cars were in front of a 17-story building where Durst has three condominiums.
Dick DeGuerin, Durst's longtime Houston defense attorney, said he was baffled by what investigators could be looking for in the condo building.
"I think it's a publicity stunt. I'm not surprised by it, but I would really be surprised if they found anything of any evidentiary value," he said.
Houston police and the Harris County district attorney's deferred questions Tuesday to the Los Angeles Police Department. Harris County district attorney spokesman Jeff McShan said LAPD contacted his office last week. McShan would not elaborate on what was discussed.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said the LAPD has investigators in New Orleans regarding the investigation. He said he is concerned about the impact that an HBO documentary on the investigation may have but feels "confident" they and the LA County prosecutors will have plenty of evidence to proceed with a case once Durst is extradited to California.