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Natalie Wood Death

Book Triggered Homicide Investigation

11/18/2011 6:10 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

1117_natalie_wood_ex_marti_rulli_exNatalie Wood's death has been reopened as a homicide investigation, primarily because of a book written by the captain of the boat where Natalie Wood spent her last minutes ... a book suggesting foul play ... this according to sources close to the investigation.

We've learned Marti Rulli -- who co-authored the book -- has been in regular touch with the L.A. County Sheriff's Dept. over the last few months.  She has given Sheriff's investigators documents supporting material in her book, and we're told the Sheriff is so impressed he has assigned 2 full-time homicide detectives to the case.

In the book -- "Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour" -- Rulli and Splendour Captain Dennis Davern write about the night Natalie drowned.  They say before Natalie disappeared from the boat, she was drinking and taking Quaaludes with her husband, Robert Wagner and actor Christopher Walken.

According to the book, Wagner became enraged when he saw Wood and Walken speaking, and smashed a wine bottle, yelling at Walken, "What do you want to do, f**k my wife?  Is that what you want?"

At that point, Walken returned to his cabin and Natalie and Robert went to their state room. According to the Captain, he heard a loud argument between the couple and thumping sounds, and eventually silence.

A short time later, the Captain went to the deck and was told by Wagner, "Natalie is missing."

The book claims Wagner refused to let the Captain call the Coast Guard.

Wagner told the Capt. the dinghy was gone, along with Natalie, but some doubted that because she was deathly afraid of dark water.

The death was ruled an accident, but Rulli was like a pit bull since the book was written in 2008.

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We're told the homicide investigators have already traveled to Catalina, as well as  New Jersey to interview Rulli.  They've also gone to Augustine, Florida to interview the Captain, and they're going to Hawaii to look at the Splendour.

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7:25 PM PST  A source familiar with the investigation tells TMZ the Sheriff's Dept. has not called anyone a suspect in Wood's death.  It is a general homicide investigation for now, and will take "a long time to complete."  The source adds, supporting documentation in several books about Wood's death -- including Marti Rulli's book -- triggered the investigation because the witnesses accounts of circumstances surrounding Wood's death did not square with what they told officials immediately after her death.

We're told no one from the Sheriff's Dept. has spoken with Wagner, nor has an interview been requested ... at least so far.

7:08 PM PST -- Robert Wagner's rep released a statement to TMZ ... saying, "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."

The statement continues, "[The Wagners] 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."

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251 COMMENTS

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1.

Andrea    

So..... what is this book alleging? That Robert Wagner killed his wife?

And why is this coming out now, so many years after the fact?

This might be interesting, or it might be hype.

1073 days ago
2.

Jeff Becker    

Sounds like the investigaters are traveling to beautiful destinations on the taxpayers money.

1073 days ago
3.

Willie'sNelson    

Thought as much.

1073 days ago
4.

Todd    

"what do you want to, **** my wife?" I answered that question many times,and surprisingly on four occasions it worked

1073 days ago
5.

Frieda    

About time..!

1073 days ago
6.

patty    

i'm afraid this will only cause bad feelings and no resolution

1073 days ago
7.

Bob    

I have always believed Wagner did it.

1073 days ago
8.

Ishcabibble    

I got the story first hand back in the late eighties by one of the attorneys involved.
He had numerous drinks and was in a talkative mood.
This conversation took place at a now defunct member's only bar at the Beverly Center called Tramps of London owned by Jackie Collins.
He went on to say that the actual fight was over Wagner & Walken allegedly having a fling and that Natalie Wood went ballistic when she caught them.
They were all drunk and the fight between Natalie & Wagner escalated pretty rapidly.
Walken finally went to bed while Wagner & Wood continued the fight. She would not listen to reason and rightfully so being that she was both drunk and in shock at this new revelation.
Allegedly Wagner & Walken are bisexual.
Strange that this is now coming back up - Wood's death.
It will be interesting to see how it plays out...

1073 days ago
9.

SantaFeJack    

This won't amount to a hill of beans, will cause everyone but the authors grief, and allow some detectives to get a trip to some nice locales on the taxpayer's dime. ANYTHING TO SELL A BOOK!

1073 days ago
10.

Ace    

Sponge Bob did it........what a waste of time!

1073 days ago
11.

tonyajayne    

You mean ST Augustine Florida

ANd sounds like these investigators are getting nice paid vacations to Florida and Hawaii....

It's not like they are going to find something on the boat after 30 years (or however long ago it was)

1073 days ago
12.

growup    

what? This is such old news. This came out right after her death. Why on earth do they think any differently now?! For pete's sake, Robert would never kill his wife. He LOVED her! This is just cruel.

1073 days ago
13.

the artist formerly known as hand turkey    

Yeah, but here's the thing, when I'm drinking or I'm really pisssed off, my fears and phobias are not issues. The don't call it liquid courage for nothing.

1073 days ago
14.

senior citizen    

As I said before, this is nothing new. They were ALL drunk! No one knows what really happened.

1073 days ago
15.

Sunshine    

Yep she was murdered.
While they're at it they should investigate that fat old guy from Priceline,his wife "accidentally" drowned in their pool.

1073 days ago
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