New Wood Presser: Heat Turned Up on Wagner

A live presser held February 5 by the L.A. County Sheriff's Office seemed designed to turn up the heat on 87-year-old Robert Wagner in the renewed investigation into the 1981 drowning death of his wife, Natalie Wood.

Walken & Wood had shot the film Brainstorm, which was released after Wood's death, in 1983 (Image via MGM)

Via CBS News: Wood died off Catalina while relaxing on her yacht the Splendour with Wagner, Wood's friend Christopher Walken, 74, and the ship's captain, Dennis Davern.

Wood's body was recovered a day after she vanished. She was wearing a flannel nightgown and a down jacket.

Her death was ruled an accidental drowning, with the theory going that she drunkenly tried to depart the vessel via a dinghy, slipped into the water and could not get back aboard.

Suspicion has always fallen upon Wagner in that Wood, a non-swimmer, was known to be terrified of the water, and rumors have swirled regarding a fight and also regarding Walken's presence.

The case was reopened in 2011, and more witnesses have come forward, suggesting Wood and Wagner had a potentially violent fight, one the captain says left Wagner seeming "crazy," and one that may have led to Wagner overruling the captain, who wanted to turn on a light to look for Wood when she went missing.

Wood's body is now known to have shown bruising consistent with an assault, and more witnesses have confirmed the sounds of an argument.

Incredibly, Wagner has never been interviewed in the case.

"Yes, of course we want to talk to Robert Wagner," L.A. County Sheriff's Dept. Lt. John Corina now says, "You bet, we want to hear his version of events."

Wagner is now categorized as a person of interest in the case because he was the last person to see Wood alive, and here is no conclusive explanation for how she wound up in the water.


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