Sheriffs Reopen Natalie Wood Death Case, Say Robert Wagner's Not a Suspect
Natalie Wood's mysterious death may be finally explained: The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department announced Thursday that they will reopen the case of Wood's death, according to the Los Angeles Times.
"Recently sheriff's homicide investigators were contacted by persons who stated they had additional information about the Natalie Wood Wagner drowning," the department said in a statement. "Due to the additional information, Sheriff's homicide bureau has decided to take another look at the case."
Natalie Wood case should be reopened, her sister says
In Nov. 1981, Wood drowned off the coast of Catalina Island, which investigators ruled an accident. Back in 2010, Wood's sister, Lana Wood, appeared on CNN and pleaded with authorities to re-open the case. Wood said she believed an argument between her sister and her husband, Robert Wagner, on the yacht's back deck preceded her drowning. During a press conference Friday, a spokesperson for the Sheriff's Department said that Wagner is not a suspect in the case.
As a child, Wood starred in Miracle on 34th Street and went on to make Rebel Without a Cause, Splendor in the Grass and West Side Story. She married Wagner in 1957. They divorced in 1962, then remarried in 1972. They often sailed their yacht off the coast of California. On the Thanksgiving weekend she drowned, they had invited Wood's then co-star, Christopher Walken, to join them sailing.
In light of the case being reopened, Walken has hired a lawyer to advise him, though the Deer Hunter actor is also not considered a suspect, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Watch clips of Natalie Wood's movies
Detective Duane Rasure, the sheriff's lead investigator, has said the official theory is that Wood was awakened by the sound of the yacht's dinghy hitting the side of the boat. Police believe she went to re-tie the dinghy but slipped on the boat's swim step and fell into the water.
Wood was found wearing a long nightgown, socks, and a down jacket, according to police. Rasure told CNN he believes Wood was dragged underwater by her jacket. "She was such a little thing," he said.