Natalie Wood's death investigation reopened after boat captain says Robert Wagner killed her
The investigation into the 1981 death of Natalie Wood has been reopened after the captain of the yacht from which she disappeared made all sort of statements saying her husband Robert Wagner killed her, implying he was jealous of the attention she was giving Christopher Walken. Yeah, it's way better than anything on reality TV right now.
Dennis Davern, the one-time captain of of a boat called the Splendour, told the Today show Friday morning that he wanted "a thorough investigation" into the case, in which she allegedly died by accidentally falling overboard on Thanksgiving weekend, despite plenty of questions whether there was foul play.
"I made some terrible decisions and mistakes," Davern told David Gregory on the show (watch it above). "I did lie on a report several years ago. ... I made mistakes by not telling the honest truth in a police report." When Gregory asked him if he thought Wagner was responsible, he answered "Yes."
The L.A. County Sheriff's Office said Thursday they were reopening the case because Davern "made comments worthy of exploring," Sheriff Lee Baca told the L.A. Times. Davern is now shilling a book he co-wrote last year with Marti Rulli called Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour. Davern dodged Gregory's questions repeatedly, which makes us wonder why he even went on TV.
"We didn't take any steps to see if we could locate her," Davern said, noting he thought Wagner was "responsible" for Wood's death. "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.'"
Rulli, who was also on the show, said "a terrible argument transpired" between Wagner and Wood that night and included an incident in which Wagner smashed a wine bottle on a coffee table after dinner, sending Walken out of the room and to his cabin. Wood went missing a short time after midnight. Wagner reported her missing about 1:30 a.m. Wagner said in a 2008 Times interview the argument was about sacrificing your personal life for your career, but he and Walken made up before going to their repective cabins.
"Dennis made an attempt to stop it, and was told to go away by Robert Wagner," Rulli said on Today. "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."
In the original case, Wood's death was ruled an accident, with the coroner's report concluding she may have slipped and hit her head while trying to tie back a dinghy on the yacht after drinking too much wine. Her body was found floating in the water about 7:30 a.m., wearing a down coat over a nightgown.
"Although no one in the Wagner family has heard from the LA County Sheriff’s department about this matter, they 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," Wagner's rep said in a statement to the Hollywood Reporter.