Reporting Jamie Yuccas
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The case surrounding one of Hollywood’s long-standing mysteries is getting another look. Thirty years after Natalie Wood’s death, the Los Angeles County Sheriff is reopening the case.
A yacht captain is now saying her husband Robert Wagner is responsible for Wood’s drowning.
“I just didn’t want my whole life to go by without the truth coming out,” said captain Dennis Davern.
It’s something his friends are having a hard time believing, including local personality Nancy Nelson.
“If this isn’t true, if this isn’t true, what a horrible, horrific thing to do to somebody,” said Nelson.
In 1981, Natalie Wood’s body is discovered off the coast of Catalina Island. The night before, she, her husband Robert Wagner and actor Christopher Walken were all aboard the yacht.
Davern, the yacht captain on board the night Wood died, is telling reporters he lied to investigators and now blames Wagner for her death.
“Isn’t it interesting he was able to hold on to this horrible secret for 30 years? If he hasn’t been paid by anybody, then maybe, maybe he’s worth listening to,” says Nelson. “I was in one of his trailers on a backlot and it was loaded with Natalie pictures everywhere. I said, ‘I need to ask how you’re doing, and he opened up and he sobbed.’”
But Davern says there’s more to what meets the eye.
“Christopher and Natalie were sitting on the sofa. And within a split second, Robert Wagner picked up a wine bottle, and smashed it on the coffee table. And yelled out what are you doing, trying to [expletive] my wife,” said Davern.
He says the three had been drinking heavily and Wood and Wagner continued fighting shortly before she disappeared.
A spokesperson for Wagner says he fully supports the new investigation. In a 2008 autobiography, Wagner blamed himself for Wood’s death.
On Saturday, CBS will present new interviews and information in “48 Hours Presents Vanity Fair: Hollywood Scandal” at 9 p.m.