Actress Natalie Wood's Case Reopened: Homicide?

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By Emma Koonse, Christian Post Reporter
November 18, 2011|2:04 pm

The case of the 1981 drowning of Natalie Wood has been reopened over speculation that the famous actress was murdered.

Sources with additional information about Wood’s death have approached the Los Angeles County sheriff’s department, resulting in their reopening the case on Thursday, nearly 30 years after Wood’s death.

The actress drowned in waters off Southern California near Santa Catalina Island after a night of partying alongside her husband, Roger Wagner, and her “Brainstorm” co-star, Christopher Walken.

The trio were drinking while on the couple’s yacht, “Splendor,” after which Wood’s death was determined an accident. According to the report, Wood was “possibly attempting to board the dinghy and had fallen into the water, striking her face.”

A dinghy from their yacht was found in Catalina Cove.

According to the Los Angeles Times, detectives reopened the case after the ship’s captain, Dennis Davern, made comments on the mysterious death of Wood. Authorities have not released any additional information but will have a news conference on the matter on Friday.

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Wood, and three-time Oscar nominee famous for her roles in “West Side Story” and “Rebel Without a Cause,” was 43 when she died. Her husband Wagner was the star of the TV series “Hart to Hart,” and they married twice - once in 1957 divorcing after six years, and again in 1972.

Wagner penned an autobiography in 2008 blaming himself for his wife’s death. The couple had an argument before Wood supposedly fell overboard and drowned. He noted in the book that he has never returned to Catalina Island.

Wood’s sister Lana wrote a biography on her sister, stating “What happened is that Natalie drank too much that night.”

 In a past interview, Wood divulged that her greatest fear was of dark seawater. On November 29, 1981 her body was found floating in the water about a mile from the yacht in the Pacific Ocean. According to police reports, Wood was wearing a long nightgown, socks, and a down jacket.

Wood’s sister told authorities that the actress “would never go to another boat or to shore dressed in a nightgown and socks,” and that she did not know how to swim.

An autopsy report revealed that Wood had two dozen bruises on her body, including on her left cheek and arms.

Despite the county coroner’s office ruling that Wood’s death was accidental, others day that case does not add up.

Wagner’s publicist Alan Nierob issued a statement about the actor’s family, and said that no one from the sheriff’s department has contacted his client about the case reopening.

“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 LA Sheriff’s Dept. and trust that 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,” said Nierob.

The L.A. sheriff’s department will hold a news conference Friday at 2 p.m. EST on the matters surround the case.

 

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