Natalie Wood Wagner died 37 years ago, after mysteriously disappearing from a yacht she was on with her husband, Robert Wagner and co-star, Christopher Walken.
Wood's body turned up a day after she disappeared, and her official cause of death was listed as an accidental drowning. However, no one really bought that story. Her death was extremely suspicious, but for 30 years, the official record stated it was an accident.
In 2011, Wood's case was reopened, and people's suspicions were starting to be confirmed. Coroners changed the cause of death from "accidental drowning" to "drowning and other undetermined factors." Reports of bruises covering the late actress's body started to surface, as well as rumors surrounding Wagner's jealous rages.
According to the ship captain Dennis Davern's sworn statement to police, Wagner and Walken got into an argument surrounding Wagner's jealousy. A furious Wagner yelled "Do you want to f**k my wife?!" at Walken, which is when the The Deer Hunter actor smashed a bottle of wine. Moments later, Wood fell off the boat. Davern says Wood and Wagner were also arguing.
"The only full sentence I could completely decipher during the entire argument was 'Get off my f****** boat' said by Robert Wagner." He recalled showing up on the deck where the argument was taking place. "Wagner was present, and he stood near the far rear wall of the yacht."
The case has remained open since 2011 and now, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has released new information on a person of interest.
Nearly 40 years after the case, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Lieutenant John Corina sat down with 48 Hours and revealed that the late actress's widower is now a person of interest.
“As we’ve investigated the case over the last six years, I think he’s more of a person of interest now,” Corina said. “I mean, we now know that he was the last person to be with Natalie before she disappeared.”
To make things more interesting, Wagner has refused to cooperate with investigators since the search for his late wife's killer resumed.
“I haven’t seen him tell the details that match all the other witnesses in this case,” Corina said of Wagner. “I think he’s constantly changed his story a little bit. And his version of events just don’t add up.”
Detectives revealed to 48 Hours that Wood's body was covered in bruises, which appeared to have occurred right before her death.
“She looked like a victim of an assault,” said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Detective Ralph Hernandez.
Wagner doesn't often speak about that fateful night, but he said that the speculative reasons for what caused Wood to fall of the boat are "all conjecture. Nobody knows. There are only two possibilities: either she was trying to get away from the argument, or she was trying to tie the dinghy. But the bottom line is that nobody knows exactly what happened.”
As for whether this was a murder or just a tragic accident, Corina said "I think it’s suspicious enough to make us think that something happened.”