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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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46.

Joey    

I agree with all the other posters that say what an infernal waste of money this by the Los Angeles County Sheriffs. This is exactly the type of BS that has given rise to the euphemism "Sheriffs to the Stars". They will do anything for celebrities, for regular people, nothing. For example, some friends had their son go missing a few years ago, on the way to his gf's house. They begged this same sheriffs dept to help & to call out search & rescue (who wanted to help btw, but had to be order to by the sheriffs). They refused, I swear to God. I was part of the search party of some 300 people out searching for this kid & the family even hired helicopters to scour the canyon areas in the Santa Monica Mtns. On the 3rd night, when the sheriffs finally started to talk about looking for him, the kid was found by his step mom & little brother, dead in his car. Of course the *sshole media reported that the cops found him, but they weren't even looking. That same summer, the Sheriffs to the Stars would regularly send half a dozen squad cars to the county jail to escort Pari******ons parents thru the parking lot; several cars over to Britney Spears house for her ridiculous antics, and also, sent numerous cars to numerous restaurants to keep paparazzi back so celebs (like George Clooney) could walk out. Seriously, that's what its like here in LA. These cops will bend over backwards for celebs.

1079 days ago
47.

Fat Mike    

Sounds like a big load of rubbish to me. The fact their recollections of the incident differ from their statements to police say eveything. People remember things differently after years and years of speculation and thought. Either that or those telling a different story now are admitting they are liars.

1079 days ago
48.

ExLADA    

What Joey said. I was with the LADA's office for 15 years, and Joey's absolutely right, in my opinion. The rest of us better be ready to fend for ourselves, unless you are SOMEBODY, good luck to you! I've seen police officers behave completely like idiots to impress a celeb. It's ridiculous. And, as Joey indicated, unless you are important, good luck getting any investigation/search for your missing relative.

1079 days ago
49.

nof    

@senior citizen: 3 hours ago
"As I said before, this is nothing new. They were ALL drunk! No one knows what really happened."

___________________________________


My friend Leon does.


He can go back into the past -


Any murder/alleged murder scene -


But for only eight minutes.


Oh, and Leon's not cheap.

1079 days ago
50.

AlwaysOnTimeB    

In reading about her death, I always felt that it was suspicious. I'm glad they are doing this no matter the reason. The truth needs to come out. It should have been a homicide investigation from the get-go.

1079 days ago
51.

nof    

Nice to see Lana Wood looking so good and so healthy.


-Very beautiful woman.


I'd go out with her in a second -


And help with this investigation in any way Nof could/can.


If it's one thing Nof is known for - it's Truth.


It's Justice.


-And it's The_American_Way.


Only 2 differences between Nof and Superman?


1. Nof's never worked at The Daily Planet.

2. Nof's never jumped out of a high-rise.

1079 days ago
52.

Grouchy Smurf    

This is not new information. I remember reading this same stuff in the National Enquirer back when Natalie died. Same information, just published in a book instead of a trashy tabloid.

1079 days ago
53.

Murder_has_no_Stautory_limitation    

Look. Wagner admitted he broke a bottle on 'the table' in a heated argument with Wood. Accordiang to the new testimony, after the bottle was broken, there was immediate silence. The Captain heard the bottle breaking sound, ran from his room, and immediately ran up to investigate. Wood was gone. Time... 20 seconds. Wagner said he broke and bottle and then 'quote" She's gone. Wagner then refused to let the Captain call the Coast Guard. The then coroner, Tom Nogughi's autopsy found 'upward severe bruise' on Woods forehead, with new concussion and 20 new bruises upon her body... LAPD is obviously putting 2+2 together. Wagner beat her to death and then covered up by throwing her overboard. Captain is getting ready to die and is coming clean.

1079 days ago
54.

Joey    

Haha! The filter here blanked out the words P ar i*******on in my post upthread! Like its a dirty word or something! Seems appropriate though, doesn't it?

1079 days ago
55.

Jackie    

So what's the point of re-opening the case? It's not like she is gonna resurrect.

1079 days ago
56.

Areader    

Hmmmmmm!

1079 days ago
57.

Truth    

ALWAYS KNEW THIS WOULD COME BACK TO HAUNT WAGNER UNTIL HE'S PUT IN JAIL. CNN ARTICLE STATES WOOD AUTOPSY PHOTOS SHOW SHE HAD A DOZEN BRUISES. HE IS RESPONSIBLE AND WALKEN IS GUILTY FOR THE HELP IN COVER-UP. MY FEELING WAGNER TOLD WALKEN TO STFU OR IF IT CAME TO LIGHT BY THE POLICE HE WOULD IMPLICATE HIM AS AN ACCESSORY AND BOTH GO DOWN. NATALIE WOOD WAS ONLY 5FT TALL. SHE WAS NOT BIG, A TINY CHIC. NO DOUBT THAT MADE IT EASY FOR WAGNER TO BEAT HER UP, PUT HER IN THE DINGY AND DUMP HER BODY A MILE AWAY. THEN CRAWL BACK IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT AND CLAIM HE COULDNT FIND HIS WIFE. #LAME. TO BAD THE IDIOT DIDNT HAVE BETTER SCRIPT WRITERS. OOPS, CSI TV SERIES DIDNT EXIST BACK THEN. TRUTH!!!

1079 days ago
58.

Jack    

Much ado about Nothing. The Police HAVE to act on any "new" evidence or incite on a case like this. She was drunk - drugged up, pissed off & accidentally died by her own misadventure. Gotta say this crap is coming out the same time as West side story came out on blu-ray. Bull****!

1079 days ago
59.

Patrick Henry    

Natalie was class A Hollywood royalty , a victim of the old Hollyood system and an abusive upbringing. Most were saddened by her death , which should have ended with an arrest and didn't. This book was tacky and i wondered if it sold as I never heard of it. Wagner and Walken doing the nasty, I doubt it but would believe that Walken wanted to be involved with Natalie his co-star and whose charisma and
beauty equaled her talent. This book equals K- Jenner nasty book bringing up the death of NB Simpson. If only we could have lynch mobs.

1079 days ago
60.

carina    

This was so long ago but I do remember the details, kind of vague.All three were very drunk, she was found with the dingy in a big fluffy robe and slippers, she could not swim and was terrified of dark water period.They tried to suggest in her drunken state she tried to row the dingy to shore.That does not, nor did it ever seem plausable but back then investigations were done quite differant with a lot less tests and accuracy we see today.The kids did not need any more trauma in their life, so it just went away.I do not see why brinhg it back up, no matter what did happen, it;s long over and it was a accident by ??? her's ?R.J.? hands who knows???

1079 days ago
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