Sheriff: Wagner Not a Suspect in Natalie Wood Case
By Bryan Lynn
The Los Angeles County Sheriff said Friday that Robert Wagner is not a suspect in the death of his wife, actress Natalie Wood.
Sheriff's Lt. John Corina told reporters the actor is not a suspect at this time, but the department is reopening the Natalie Wood accidental death case because "substantial and credible" new information recently came to light. Corina declined to provide specific information on new sources or leads in the case.
The Oscar-nominated actress died after spending time aboard a yacht with Wagner, actor Christopher Walken and the ship's captain, Dennis Davern, in the chilly waters off Southern California on Nov. 29, 1981. At some point that evening, Wood somehow fell into the water and drowned.
Davern -- skipper of the yacht Splendour -- told NBC's Today show Friday that he had not told the whole truth about events leading to Wood's death and that he had urged homicide investigators to reopen the case.
Davern told David Gregory on Today that he believes Wagner intentionally kept the investigation into Wood's death low profile and didn't do everything he could have done. When asked by Gregory whether a fight between Wood and Wagner had ultimately led to the actress' death, Davern replied: "Yes." When pressed further, the captain said that matter would be up to investigators to decide.
statement released Thursday by Wagner spokesman Alan Nierob states: "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 County Sheriff's Dept. and trust 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."
Wood, a three-time Oscar nominee famous for her roles in West Side Story, Rebel Without a Cause and other Hollywood hits, was 43 when she died. She and Wagner, star of the '80s TV series Hart to Hart, were first married in 1957, and then divorced six years later. They remarried in 1972.