Natalie Wood's Death Being Reinvestigated
However, 30 years later the death of the “West Side Story” star is being reinvestigated. Last year Wood’s sister Lana told CNN she asked the police to reopen the case because she suspected foul play in which Wood’s husband, actor Robert Wagner, was involved.
The couple’s yacht captain was Dennis Davern, who also asked the police to reopen the case last year. In 2009 he co-wrote the book “Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour,” detailing what happened that night.
According to police, his original statements given to authorities did not match his literary recollections. In the book he admits that he lied to the police about what happened, something that he told CNN he now deeply regrets.
Davern stated that Wood and Wagner had a heated argument earlier that night, which he believed led to Wood’s death.
Davern recounted how Wagner had a heated argument with Wood’s “Brainstorm” co-star, Christopher Walken, who was also on the yacht, during which Wood retired to the stateroom.
After Walken went to the guest room, Wagner also returned to the stateroom shortly after Wood and Davern said he heard them arguing. Later, Davern said Wagner was distraught because he couldn’t find Wood, but later poured drinks and concluded that she probably took a raft out by herself because she was angry.
Davern said he doubted she would go out at sea by herself since she once admitted in a televised interview that her biggest fear was of seawater.
Wagner’s story was different than Davern’s. He said in his 2009 memoir “Pieces of My Heart” that after his fight with Walken, they sat on the deck to cool off and later when he went to check on his wife she was missing.
He says he assumed she had left for shore on her own, but he did search for her and called the harbor master and the restaurant they had eaten at earlier that night.
The police say her body was found the next morning a mile away from the yacht. The police report states she was found in a nightgown, socks, and a down jacket.
Lt. John Corina of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department says that Wagner is not a suspect in the case. He told reporters, “We have several sources coming forward with additional information and we have found it credible enough to take another look at the case.”
Wagner’s publicist issued a statement saying that the actor and his family “fully support the efforts of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department and trust they will evaluate whether any new information relating to the death of Natalie Wood Wagner is valid, and that it comes from a credible source or sources other than those simply trying to profit from the 30-year anniversary of her tragic death.”
The L.A. County Sherriff’s Department also says Walken is not a suspect. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Walken is being represented by Mathew Rosengart, a former federal prosecutor.
The Natalie Wood mystery will be featured in the TV special “48 Hours” on CBS Saturday night.
Reach staff writer Megan Singson here
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