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July 24, 2014

Natalie Wood's Death to be Reinvestigated by Police

by Catherine Lawson, posted Nov 18th 2011 7:00AM
Natalie WoodIt's been announced that police in Los Angeles are to reopen the inquiry into the drowning death of movie star Natalie Wood. She died in November 1981 aged 43 while boating off Catalina Island near the California coast with her husband Robert Wagner and movie star Christopher Walken. At the time the coroner ruled her death an accident, saying that Wood had been drinking and accidentally fell into the sea, striking her face on the side of the yacht 'Splendour.'

However, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Dept. issued a statement Thursday saying they are re-examining the case. "Recently Sheriff's Homicide Investigators were contacted by persons who stated they had additional information about the Natalie Wood Wagner drowning. Due to the additional information, Sheriff's Homicide Bureau has decided to take another look at the case."

The dept. is due to hold a press conference about the matter on Friday at 11AM PT.

Oscar nominee Wood -- who had previously said her greatest fear was death by drowning -- was found floating in the ocean about a mile away from the boat. She was wearing a long nightgown, socks, and a down jacket. Both Natalie's sister, Lana Wood, and the boat's captain, Dennis Davern, have recently called for the investigation into her death to be reopened, and the 'Los Angeles Times' reports that the Sheriff's Dept now wants to interview Davern.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca told the newspaper that homicide detectives want to talk to Davern in light of recent comments he made in the run-up to the 30th anniversary of Woods' death. Baca would not give details, only saying "He made comments worthy of exploring."

An anonymous law enforcement source added that the department had recently received a letter from an unidentified "third party" who said that the captain had "new recollections" about the case.

Davern suggested in a book he co-authored in 2009 that the full circumstances surrounding Wood's death were never properly investigated, and that she died as a result of an onboard argument with 'Hart to Hart' star Wagner. In a 2010 interview with CNN, Davern also suggested there had been a cover-up, saying he regretted misleading investigators by keeping quiet at Wagner's request.

Lana Wood, who previously said her sister "was not a swimmer," told CNN last year that although she does not suspect foul play, she does believe that Natalie's death followed "a highly charged argument" between her and Wagner on 'Splendour's back deck. "I just want the truth to come out, the real story," she said.

There's been no comment yet from Walken, but Wagner said he supports a new investigation. In a statement on his behalf, Wagner's publicist Alan Nierob said, "Although no one in the Wagner family has heard from the L.A. County Sheriff's Department about this matter, they fully support the efforts of the L.A. County Sheriff's Department."

He added that Wagner trusts "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."

Follow Catherine on Twitter: @TVCLaw.

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ajbrenegade

I hope this isn't about capitilising on the fact that it has been 30 yers since the death of Natalie Wood... and in this day and age, there is the very real likelyhood, that is the case.
However, I do recall there was a cloud of mystery surrounding the details of her death, back in 81...

November 18 2011 at 10:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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