The cold case of Lynne Schulze’s disappearance in 1971 might just be getting warmer. Police reported Monday that they are investigating a connection between the disappearance of Schulze with Robert Durst, the millionaire real estate scion and star of HBO’s The Jinx, who is connected with three other murders over the last several decades. But aside from possibly being linked to alleged killer Durst, who is Lynne Schulze?
At the time of her disappearance, Schulze was an 18-year-old freshman at Middlebury College in Vermont. The Simsbury, Connecticut, native had light brown hair and blue eyes. One of Schulze’s childhood friends, Susan Randall, described Schulze to The Addison County Independent as “fun-loving,” and she said she “loved to be outdoors.” One of Schulze’s four siblings, Anne Schulze, described her sister as “a very caring person, who valued her friends and family tremendously.”
But around the time that Schulze disappeared, all was not necessarily well and good. Schulze was reportedly mildly depressed at the time of her sudden disappearance, and The Hartford Courant reports that she may have been feeling self-conscious as she was suffering from severe acne at the time. She was homesick and struggling to adjust to college life. Friends report that Schulze had joked about faking her own death and starting a new life, but none of her friends seemed to take her jokes seriously.
On Dec. 10, 1971, Schulze was supposed to be taking a final exam for her English Drama class. According to reports, she showed up but then left to get her favorite pen from her dorm room. No one ever heard from her again. Anne Schulze told The Addison County Independent:
She disappeared. Into thin air. In the middle of the day.
Suspicions arose immediately. Although Schulze was homesick and had considered dropping out of school, she had registered for classes the following semester. According to missing persons website The Charley Project, Schulze had studied for the English Drama exam that she was to take on the day of her disappearance, and she had perfect attendance in the class. When police searched her dorm room, they found all of her possessions still there, including her wallet. She likely had about $30 with her when she went missing, but she left her identification and checkbook behind. Anne Schulze told The Independent:
Our family, quite honestly, never believed the rumors that (Lynne) had taken off and was hitchhiking. My mother, in particular, believed that foul play was involved from the start.
After Schulze’s disappearance, reports surfaced here and there of sightings of the young woman, but none of the tips ever turned up any conclusive evidence. So, how could this young college coed be connected to Robert Durst? Well, at the time of Schulze’s disappearance, Durst was living in Middlebury where he both owned and operated a health food store called “All Good Things.” While The Independent reports that the case’s lead investigator, Middlebury police detective Kris Bowdish, says that there is no solid evidence connecting Durst to the disappearance, the timelines do match up.
The Burlington Free Press reports that there actually is evidence connecting the two. According to the newspaper, Schulze was seen outside Durst's store eating dried prunes, which she had bought inside, and then was later seen at the bus stop across the street from the store.
In light of the three other disappearances in which Durst is involved, the fact that the timelines and location of Durst and Schulze coincide seems a good starting point. Durst has been charged with the first-degree murder of his friend Susan Berman, and he is also suspected in the disappearance of his first wife and the murder of his neighbor in Galveston, Texas. On Monday, a Louisiana judge ruled that Durst would be held without bail.
The Jinx might be over, but Durst’s story seems to only just be beginning. But at least that could mean that Schulze’s case might finally come to an end.
Images: HBO (1); Getty Images (1)