In 2011, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department reopened its investigation into the 1981 death of movie star Natalie Wood. Her drowning was originally ruled an accident, but now detectives aren't so sure. In 2012, the cause listed on her death certificate was changed from "accidental drowning" to "drowning and other undetermined factors." Now, her husband, actor Robert Wagner, whose most recent credit is a recurring role on NCIS, has for the first time been named a "person of interest" in Wood's death, according to CBS.
Speaking to 48 Hours, which will air an episode about the Wood investigation on Saturday, LASD Lieutenant John Corina said, "As we've investigated the case over the last six years, I think [Wagner is] more of a person of interest now. I mean, we know now that he was the last person to be with Natalie before she disappeared."
Wood was out on her family's yacht with Wagner, their friend Christopher Walken and captain Dennis Davern the night of Nov. 28, 1981. Davern alleges that Wagner is responsible for Wood's death, as they had a huge fight that night and Wagner was the last person to see her alive. When she was found, Wood had bruises on her body and scratch on her cheek that may have been inflicted before she died. Wagner initially denied that he and Wood had argued that night, though he later admitted it. Now 87 years old, he denies that he had anything to do with Wood's death.
Wagner is not a suspect, but Corina says that Wagner's unwillingness to tell everything that Corina believes he knows about his wife's death makes him a person of interest. Wagner has not cooperated with investigators since the case was reopened.
"I haven't seen him tell the details that match all the other witnesses in this case," Corina says. "I think he's constantly changed his story a little bit. And his version of events just don't add up."
48 Hours' "Natalie Wood: Death in Dark Water" will air Saturday, Feb. 3 at 10/9c on CBS.
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