The sudden loss of actress Natalie Wood has remained a mystery, even as the 30th anniversary of her drowning approaches on Nov. 29.
Captain Dennis Davern was the only non-celebrity on the Splendour yacht during the night of Wood’s disappearance and death. In a sworn statement to police, the boatman claimed drinking led to arguing, screaming, and possibly, the star’s death. His eyewitness testimony, obtained by Radar, revealed the frustration and anger that could have caused Wood’s supposed drowning.
According to Davern, actors Robert Wagner and Christopher Walken were having a loud argument, fueled by alcohol and mounting tensions in their relationship. Because the boatman was not on deck, much of the quarrel was muffled and thus indecipherable.
One line stood out, however. Wagner allegedly screamed at Walken: “Do you want to f*** my wife?”
“Get off my f****** boat,” Wagner allegedly then yelled, according to Davern.
Davern could have surmised Wagner was speaking to Walken, but 15 minutes later, when he came above deck, Wood was nowhere to be found.
Davern’s account of events details indicate that he “immediately” went to call authorities for assistance, because the absence of Wood and Wagner’s “sweaty, flushed” appearance prompted him to think something went array.
Wagner, though, led the captain to believe otherwise, even directly telling the boatman not to interfere, according to Davern.
“We will wait and see if she returns,” Wagner allegedly said.
Davern obeyed, but he did not believe Wagner’s demeanor or words. He knew Wood personally, and doubted that she would leave the yacht alone in a dinghy. In addition, Wood had a well-documented fear of water, even refusing to go in her own swimming pool.
When the pair finally called authorities, it had been two hours since the actress’ disappeared. Before they arrived, Davern wrote that Wagner repeatedly reminded him not to “tarnish his image by drawing public attention,” and to “say nothing.”
Wood was found floating face down at 7:45 a.m., about a mile from the dinghy. She was wearing a down jacket, a nightgown, and slippers.
The boatman was left behind to identify her body, while Wagner and Walken left. Davern said he “noticed bruises on her body” that could have been left during the couple’s fight in the stateroom and deck.
In lieu of the new evidence, information, and testimony, police reopened the 30-year-old case but have not named Wagner as a suspect.
Wagner, in response, issued a statement, and said that he trusts the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to do its job. He also mentions that there could be sources “simply trying to profit from the 30-year anniversary of [Wood’s] tragic death.”