U.S. police re-open investigation into 1981 death of actress Natalie Wood

November 18th, 2011 - 8:04 pm ICT by BNO News  

LOS ANGELES (BNO NEWS) — The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department on late Thursday evening confirmed it has re-opened the investigation into the 1981 drowning death of actress Natalie Wood.

A statement from the department said homicide investigators were recently contacted by persons who stated they had additional information about the death of Natalie Wood, who drowned on November 29, 1981, while boating off the Isthmus of Catalina Island.

At the time of Wood’s death, the drowning was investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office which ruled it an accident. But relatives and others have long claimed that pieces of the puzzle don’t make sense.

“Due to the additional information, Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau has decided to take another look at the case,” the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said in a brief statement, without giving other details. It said it will hold a news conference on late Friday morning.

Sheriff Lee Baca told the Los Angeles Times that homicide detectives want to talk to the ship’s captain, Dennis Davern, because of recent comments he made. Bacca did not detail what the captain said, but NBC’s TODAY show reported on Friday morning that Davern alleges actor Robert Wagner is responsible for Wood’s death.

According to the Los Angeles Times, citing a law enforcement source, the department recently received a letter from an unidentified ‘third party’ who said the captain had “new recollections” about the case. The source did not give specific details about the new recollections.

In March 2010, the actress’ sister, Lana Wood, told CNN that she believes a highly charged argument between Natalie and Robert Wagner, who was married to the movie star at the time of her death, preceded the drowning. She said she does not suspect foul play but wants “the truth to come out.”

Davern, who owned the yacht “The Splendour”, broke his long silence in September 2009 by releasing the book “Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour.” In the book he also said he believes Wood’s death was a direct result of the fight with Wagner.

Natalie Wood was 43. She first appeared as a child in the 1947 film ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ and starred with some of Hollywood’s top leading men. Her last appearance was in the 1983 science fiction film ‘Brainstorm’.

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