The case of mysterious death of Natalie Wood is reopened by the Los Angeles police after they claimed to receive new information about the actress’s tragic death on 1981. She started her career as a child artist and later rose to fame even as an actress.
The actress was believed to have died from drowning during a boat trip off the coast of California with her husband, TV star Robert Wagner, and also with actor Christopher Walken. Her death was ruled out to be an accident before, though it was always believed not to be.
Lt John Corina of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office declared that they have received new “substantial” information on Wood’s death and that it one of the main reasons for them to reopen the case.
Natalie Wood was one of the most famous stars of Hollywood who started her career as a child artist, later starred in films like West Side Story and Rebel Without a Cause.
Her death remains classified as an accidental drowning until information if found to prove otherwise. This public statement by the Los Angeles County Police came hours later after the captain of the boat, Dennis Davern, stated in a TV appearance that he lied to police during the initial investigation and that a fight between Wood and Mr. Wagner had actually led to her death.
He has stated this before also in a magazine article and in a TV interview in 1992.
However, when Lt Corina was questioned that whether Robert Wagner was a suspect, he answered negatively. Before this also, Natalie Wood’s sister, Lana Wood, initially stated that she was unhappy with the initial investigation carried out on her sister’s death. She also believed she drowned soon after an argument with Robert Wagner on the deck of the yacht and stated that, ‘I just want the truth to come out, the real story’.
Natalie Wood was partying with her husband television actor Wagner and actor Christopher Walken the night before her death, and the coroner’s investigation ruled she had been drinking and may have slipped trying to board the dinghy. However, the police department announced the reopening of the investigation procedure by stating that, ‘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 Oscar nominated actress’s body, wearing a long nightgown, socks, and a jacket was found floating in a Catalina Island cove.
The post-mortem report said that Wood had bruises on her body and arms as well as a facial abrasion on her left cheek.
But the exact reasons and circumstances of her death have been always questioned for 30 years. And her family members have previously asked for authorities to re-examine the original findings.
The Los Angeles Times newspaper cited County Sheriff Lee Baca as saying detectives wanted to talk to the captain of the yacht, the Splendour, about comments around the 30th anniversary of Wood’s death.
The captain of the ship also claimed that he remembers new facts about the case. He has also published a book entitled Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour, which alleged that the actress died after a fight with her husband.
In his book Pieces of My Heart, even Wagner acknowledged that there had been a fight with Wood before she had disappeared.
Reportedly, even Wagner’s family welcomed the decision of reopening of the case by stating that the detectives would 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.
Report by Indrani Chowdury