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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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31.

Kabala    

I think someone just wants to sell a book... why would it take 30 years to reopen this investigation? This is dumb and nothing will come of it.

1032 days ago
32.

Jah36    

Who the F is Natalie Wood? Robert Wagner has a "rep?"

1032 days ago
33.

Caroline    

I've read this book and Suzanne Finstead's book 'Natasha' and there are certainly a lot of questions about what really happened to Natalie Wood that night. She was a beautiful and talented lady who deserves the truth. Her life ended far too soon.

1032 days ago
34.

nof    

Dum-de-dum-dum.


and:


"Nothing Good Ever Happens After Eleven p.m."

1032 days ago
35.

nof    

Dum-de-dum-dum.


and:


"Nothing Good Ever Happens After Eleven p.m."

1032 days ago
36.

Pete Beau    

Q. Why didn't Natlie Wood like to take showers?
A. She's rather wash ashore.
Q. What did Robert Wagner say when Natalie asked for another ****tail?
A. OK honey, just don't go overboard.
Q. What kind of wood doesn't float?
A. Natalie.

1032 days ago
37.

Horndog    

Why is TMZ (tm) posting photos of drag queens?

1032 days ago
38.

patty    

not to be mean but this case is 40 yrs old - they will never figure out any more and los angeles is going bankrupt, we can't even afford to solve the cases that are open - why reopen this now - just so the capt. can sell books?? - this isn't tv no one is going to confess - its just a waste - that capt had 40 yrs to tell police - but only did it when it was profitable

1032 days ago
39.

t    

Theres always been great suspicion surrounding the events the night of Natalie's death...I never believed it was an accident...glad to see the investigation is being reopened...theres something fishy (no pun intended) about this case...

1032 days ago
40.

nof    

...Wonder how many times Wagner, Walken and the Captain?


... went over the official line/story -


-prior to bringing the boat back in/home.


"Yep, stories match - case closed - "

1032 days ago
41.

dj_baby10    

why would the captain tell the truth now and not to the police? this doesn't make any sense.

1032 days ago
42.

dj_baby10    

its obvious that this is bogus and they're just trying to create a buzz for this book apparently. pathetic.

1032 days ago
43.

Joey    

I heard the same story as poster #9 from friends in the industry, that it was RJ & Walken who were caught fooling around by Natalie, who was enraged. Her & RJ fought about it for awhile, then it is believed she got in the dinghy to get away from them. When she was found she had on her jammies and a heavy coat. She was also supposedly wasted, and not a water person, so it is believed she fell out & couldn't get back in the dinghy, which can be a hard thing to do. I've never heard anyone say though, that they thought she was murdered. btw, common talk also has it that RJ & his current wife are both bi.

1032 days ago
44.

nof    

I had a strong feeling Chris Walken had a hand in this:


-And the moment I saw "Annie Hall."

1032 days ago
45.

Lucille    

Common sense dictates that petite Natalie Wood is not going to wrestle with a dingy, in the middle of the night, leave the yacht which is off shore in the pacific ocean, only wearing her negligee, no other clothing or even her purse and attempt to row back to shore on her own. When Natalie is later found drowned and her head bashed in the investigators explain that away assuming she hit her head on a rock in the ocean? If Natalie had been married to O.J. Simpson and not Robert Wagner there is no way the police would have taken her husband’s word for what happened that night, and it would not have taken 30 years for someone to actually do something about it.

I hope this new investigation finally brings Natalie Wood's killer to justice.

1032 days ago
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