Wayback actress Natalie Wood’s suspicious death by drowning has been reopened by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department as an official homicide investigation, allegedly because the captain of the boat from which she drowned has provided damning new details and is “urging” police to probe further. The Captain, Dennis Davern, told the Today Show this morning that Robert Wagner is responsible for her death. There has been no official comment by the L.A. County Police Department, but their reasons for reopening the case must be fairly solid as they’ve assigned two full-time detectives who have already begun what is likely to be a very complex 30-year-old investigation. Wood and Wagner had an…interesting relationship, and Wood was said to be “troubled.”
Wood, 43 at the time of her November 29, 1981 death, drowned under “mysterious” conditions, and—having read the alleged details—by “mysterious” or “suspicious” they mean an aggressive side-eye, and a knowing and suggestive, “Gurrrrrrrrrl…” Meaning: excrement got realistic the night she died and the circumstances of her death cause a furrowed brow and a slow shaking of one’s head in knowing disbelief because nuh-uh. The deets don’t add up, mofos. Also? Why she was on a boat with her huz and the dude with whom she was allegedly having an affair, taking Quaaludes and drinking, is beyond me. I can’t even.
OMG, Christopher Walken. I…can’t…REALLY?
In their book Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour, Marti Rulli, co-author with Davern, detail the night Natalie drowned.
Wagner became enraged when he saw Wood and Walken speaking, and smashed a wine bottle, yelling at Walken, “What do you want to do, [have romantic and/or furious sexual intercourse with] my wife? Is that what you want?”
At that point, Walken returned to his cabin and Natalie and Robert went to their state room. According to the Captain, he heard a loud argument between the couple and thumping sounds, and eventually silence.
A short time later, the Captain went to the deck and was told by Wagner, “Natalie is missing.”
“Dennis made an attempt to stop it, and was told to go away by Robert Wagner,” Rulli told NBC News. “Then minutes later, Natalie was missing…Dennis wanted to do everything. Make a phone call, turn on the search light. His instincts told him something was terribly wrong, and Robert Wagner asked him not to.” The book claims Wagner refused to let the Captain call the Coast Guard and that the dinghy was gone, along with Natalie. Because of her well-known phobia of dark water [Ed. Note: I hear you, girl), many were immediately suspicious and suspected foul play, despite the official determination there was no foul play. The coroner’s report from the time of her death indicated that she may have slipped and hit her head after she lost balance from drinking several glasses of wine.
The Captain has admitted he lied to investigators many years ago when interviewed, telling NBC News, “I made some terrible decisions and mistakes. I did lie on a report several years ago.” He added, "I made mistakes by not telling the honest truth in a police report." When pressed in the interview, Cap'n Crunch said he believed Wagner had intentionally kept the investigation into her death low-profile; when asked if he thought Wagner was "responsible" for Wood's death, he said, "yes, I would say so. Yes." Asked pointedly why he didn’t come forward with this information before, Davern replied:
"Why now is because I've been trying to tell information about this for many, many years, but there wasn't really anyone listening until now. I've been trying to get somebody to listen for a long time and now somebody is listening and they're going to carry on with this investigation. I'm not saying anything different. All the information that I've revealed in the past, it's all in that book, and now it's just up to the investigators to do an investigation.”
His book, he says, has been out for three years and he is not out for profit, but for justice for the situation. Further, Davern claims he has absolutely no reason to lie now, despite his history of doing so. "At that time my life was just totally crazy, and I don't think it was a time when I was even able to think straight," Davern said. Meaning...exactly what you think it means, probably. "We didn't take any steps to see if we could locate her. I think it was a matter of, 'We're not going to look too hard, we're not going to turn on the searchlight, we're not going to notify anybody right now.'
Robert Wagner’s publicist has come forward with a statement of support for the investigation blah blah standard crap they all say. He has not been contacted by the authorities and is said not to be a suspect at this time. Walken’s rep has not responded to inquiry. Both Wagner and Wood’s sister, Lana [Ed. Note: she would be named Lana, wouldn’t she be.], have refuted the claims of foul play; Lana Wood wrote in a biography on her sister, “What happened is that Natalie drank too much that night.” OH, SNAPPLE. Someone got a heaping serving of served. Only, actually, not really, but I can sort of hear LANA say that in a snotty way.
The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department is expected to make an official statement at some point today. And by “official statement,” I’m sure they mean they’re going to talk about it in vague terms and say a bunch of words that don’t actually say anything at all.