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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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136.

Violette-Blue    

I always knew that Natalie Wood was killed. Either by Robert Wagner or Christopher Walken or both of them. She was deathly affraid of water & didn't know how to swim. Their story never made any sense to me. I hope she can finally have the justice she deserves and peace. I also always suspected William ****ner of killing his third wife(?). She was an a-plus swimmer and she just "accidentally" fell into the pool and drowned? I think not. Justice for these women please.

1078 days ago
137.

sean    

Robert Wagner is clearly responsible for Natalie's death. The guy who played Number Two in Austin Powers is about to be in some serious Number Two.

1078 days ago
138.

ARTOFWAR    

…Wagner did the deed, and enjoyed it– but the deed in question is not necessarily actual murder of which he so enjoyed so much.


Robert Wagner, Natalie Wood, and Christopher Walken were the only guests on the yacht on that faithful night. And the old story goes that Robert caught Christopher in the act of attempted naughtiness aimed at Natalie.


There is some truth to these rumors; however, it was not Robert catching Christopher attempting to explore the inner workings of Natalie’s pantsuit that sparked the drunken push and shove shena****ns.


It was to be Natalie the one that found Robert and Christopher in the middle of the art of Man on Man exploratory probing that set the subsequent occurrences in to shall we say– Full Blow and Climatic not so happy endings.


It was not the first time Natalie Wood had caught her husband fully engorged and engaged in Man on Man love—she once busted Robert wide open and bent in half, hands to ankles in the bedroom of their Beverly Hills home.

Could MAN on MAN LOVE having sparked Natalie Wood’s watery grave ending???

No one is sure, but one thing you can all be sure of— is that Rock Hudson was not on board that night—so the homo-cide detectives will definitely clear Rock of any Man on Man slash this b#tch must die suspicions—At least for that night anyway.

Gee, I wonder if Robert Wagner and Rock Hard Hudson were ever pals—just another Hollywood investigation that needs to be deeply and gapingly probed into….Artofwar

1078 days ago
139.

c    

Really lady? 30 YEARS LATER you decide to completely change your story? Maybe because this version sells more books.

1078 days ago
140.

Oprah    

Do ya mean SAINT Augustine, Florida? There ain't no "Augustine" in Florida.

1078 days ago
141.

gigi    

I was living in SoCal on the coast when Natalie died. Everyone thought Robert did it. The buzz then was the investigators turned a blind eye because he was an actor and the studios were having a heart attack thinking their guy might be arrested. They put alot of pressure on the police to drop it. And they did. Chris Walken needs to put on his big boy panties and tell the truth. Natalie didn't get into tha*****er on her own. Impossible.

1078 days ago
142.

drizella    

I'm not surprised. I'm just surprised they didn't re-open the case sooner. Her death never made sense to me. Hopefully now we'll know what really happened.

1078 days ago
143.

cindymac    

somebody's looking for money to fund his retirement. This story is bs.

1078 days ago
144.

davida    

The reason the case is so suspicious is because no real investigation was done to answer questions. Clearly, something wasn't probed to stir up truth, and as a result there's a vague unease of hiddenness and lack of truth. I never understood the Walken-Wagner-Wood thing in that it made no sense why Wagner would tolerate Walken around if he suspected a fling. The sexual attraction notion mentioned by others here, between Walken and Wagner, explains it. I also have a question about Marilyn Wayne's affidavit. She woke up hearing cries, and then mentions hearing music. Was the music on simultaneous to the cries for help or turned on aftewards, as if to blot out the pleas? That throws a question back to the captain. Maybe he heard Wood getting shoved overboard and turned on the music to squelch cries for help. Also from the affidavit, it sounds like Wagner knew his wife was in the water and then said "hold on we're coming to get you," and just released the dinghy into the water, with the intention of Wood finding it herself. Again pointing to irresponsibility on the part of Wagner.

1078 days ago
145.

vanessa    

come on folks, back in the day who would you rather be with, robert Wagner who
was so handsome or walken who was so scary- looking till this day. Guy is fugally and weird.
maybe a fight did occur between the men but seriously I don't think Wagner is a killer.

since natalie was on pills and drinking. she probably didn't know what the he'll she was doing
and fell off the dinghy and drowned bec. she had on a heavy coat.

the woman is dead, leave her soul rest.
WAGNER is a killer.

1078 days ago
146.

vanessa    

SORRY FOLK.S, There was a typo on my recent comment
IT was supposed to read. WAGNER IS NOT A KILLER
NOT being the operative word

1078 days ago
147.

Debbie    

All I know is I take my boat and anchor in Catalina all the time. Avalon and Two Harbors. If I was with someone who was deathly afraid of the water, had been drinking a lot or even not and the dinghy was missing and so was the person I'd be concerned because going from a boat to shore is not the easiest thing to do especially all by yourself. Especially that hour of night and it's cold outside and the water is very cold. If it had been anyone on my boat I immediately would have had a flash light looking for them and called for someone to take me around the harbor to at least make sure that person got somewhere safely. Today is different than 1981. I think the authorities would handle the situtation a little different now it was really irresponsible on Robert Wagner's part. If it would have been my boat if I was Robert Wagner the guilt of what happened to Natalie would haunt me until the day I die. He should have done more, faster. Every time I go to Catalina I think about her.

1078 days ago
148.

Sheryl    

And when this investigation gets out of the way, please re-open William ****ner's wife's death in the pool. He had been a serial cheater for years -- then has dinner with his daughter (the alibi) and POOF!!! his wife is dead in the pool - even though she is a world-class swimmer.

1078 days ago
149.

Allison    

Its about effing time !! I said that YEARS ago !! No one that is petrified of water hops on a boat !! Look out Christopher Walken and Robert Wagner. Time to pay the Piper !!

1078 days ago
150.

Mokie    

If she falls into the water, everyone on the boat would hear, HELP I'M DROWNING!!!...nobody heard that? On the other hand, the skipper has shown he can lie. So was he lying than, or is he lying now? RW story has always failed the Mokie smell test.

1078 days ago
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