The unsolved case of the death of 43-year-old actress Natalie Wood continues to remain an interest and a mystery to her family, friends, and fans nearly four decades later. Just recently, her husband at the time of her death, actor Robert Wagner, who’s now 87, was renamed as a person of interest in the case, mainly due to new evidence, as well as his own previous interview regarding the events that took place the night she drowned. According to more new reports that surfaced today, alleged witness accounts of the argument that took place between Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner on that “fateful night” in November of 1981 explain why investigators are saying that Wagner’s “story doesn’t add up.”
Although this isn’t the first time that witness accounts have been mentioned in the Natalie Wood death investigation since it was reopened in 2011, the alleged witness testimony has been placed in the forefront once again since the 48 Hours episode “Natalie Wood: Death in Dark Water” aired on CBS. An updated Tuesday report on CNN explains that Robert Wagner’s “story doesn’t add up” about what happened during the argument he had with Natalie Wood when she disappeared during a lengthy boat trip the weekend following Thanksgiving in 1981, and witness testimony about the argument explains why.
Alleged witnesses offered up their accounts of the argument that took place between Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner the night of November 28, 1981, on the couple’s boat called the Splendour, and their testimony contradicts what Wagner had written in a 2009 book and had originally told investigators. While the famous Hollywood couple had been boating with a mutual friend and actor, Christopher Walken, and the boat’s captain, Dennis Davern, off the coast of Southern California 36 years ago, several heated arguments reportedly took place between not only Wagner and Walken but also between Wagner and Wood. Robert Wagner has reportedly only offered up his own account of the arguments once since Wood was found dead in the water on the morning of November 29, 1981, reportedly six hours after she was reported missing, according to the Mercury News.
The Inquisitr previously reported that Robert Wagner claims the last time he saw Natalie Wood alive was after an argument between Wagner and Walken that ended with Wood allegedly walking away when the “argument escalated.” According to Wagner, in a 2009 written memoir, he later saw Wood “fixing her hair” in the bathroom while the argument with Walken reportedly continued. Robert Wagner went on to write that Natalie Wood then retired to the bedroom alone, but only after Wagner and Wood allegedly had talked in the boat’s salon, as noted by the New York Times. Robert Wagner also recalled in the memoir that Natalie Wood was reportedly gone when he “went to say goodnight.” CNN reports that Robert Wagner also noticed that the boat’s “dinghy was missing” and reportedly assumed Natalie Wood “had gone ashore,” also alone, even though she was afraid of the water and couldn’t swim.
The captain of the Splendour, Dennis Davern, along with other reported witnesses, continue to refute Robert Wagner’s account of the events that took place the night of November 28, 1981, both in regards to the argument that took place between Wagner and Wood, as well as the events that took place after the argument had “suddenly stopped.” All three witness accounts seemingly make the details that Robert Wagner offered about the disappearance and death of Natalie Wood not “add up,” according to Los Angeles County homicide detective Lt. John Corina in a press conference on Monday. The Mercury News explains why, saying that, according to Dennis Davern, Robert Wagner actually followed Natalie Wood to her bedroom on the night of Saturday, November 28, where the couple had a heated argument.
Davern goes on to say, in an interview that was shown on 48 Hours, that he had never before witnessed Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood “fight like that before” with “stuff getting thrown around.” Further contradicting Wagner’s account of the events that night, Davern reports that Wagner and Wood actually moved their argument from the bedroom to the “back of the yacht,” which was reportedly confirmed by other alleged witnesses who claimed “the voices they heard” arguing belonged to both Wagner and Wood. According to Davern and the witnesses, the fighting between Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood “suddenly stopped,” with Davern reportedly finding Wagner approximately 10 minutes later crying in the boat’s stateroom. Robert Wagner allegedly then told Dennis Davern that Natalie was “gone” and “missing.”
While Dennis Davern said that he reportedly wanted to radio for help immediately after searching the boat, Robert Wagner allegedly said that the “dinghy was missing” and reportedly opened a bottle of scotch. Davern also recalled that Wagner said Wood had probably taken the dinghy “back to shore” and proceeded to drink Scotch for “more than an hour” before sounding the alarm at around 1:30 a.m. on November 29, 1981, according to Davern and other witness accounts. Natalie Wood’s body was found hours later floating in the water a mile away from the Splendour with bruises on her body, signs of possible assault, which were also reportedly explained away by Robert Wagner, who theorized that Wood had probably “slipped on the swim step on the stern.”
While Christopher Walken, 74, has been “re-interviewed by investigators” since the Natalie Wood death investigation was reopened in November of 2011, thanks to new testimony from Davern and other alleged witnesses, Robert Wagner has reportedly refused another interview. Authorities say that Robert Wagner is “not obligated by law” to give another interview, as noted by CNN, but that the death of Natalie Wood remains suspicious due to conflicting testimony and witness accounts over the years. Robert Wagner did reportedly admit that he became jealous of the relationship that Natalie Wood had with her Brainstorm co-star Christopher Walken, but Wagner’s attorney reportedly cites his client’s cooperation with investigators for the 30 years before the case was reopened in 2011.
The New York Daily News reported on Monday that Lt. John Corina said that the story Robert Wagner had originally told investigators doesn’t “add up,” considering “what we’ve found” since then. Corina also clarified that Natalie Wood’s death is still not yet considered a “murder investigation” and that Robert Wagner is simply a person of interest in a “suspicious death investigation.”