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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.


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.


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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I remember this happened when I was a little girl...Even a the age of 10 I thought it was suspicious. I hope everything finally comes out the way it should've back then. Peace to Natalie's family, fans, and loved ones regardless. I never watched "Hart 2 Hart" after this, and frankly (even at 10) KNEW robert had something to do with this...

1069 days ago


Harvey, be honest.... didn't you always think he (Robert Wagner) did it, anyway? I think most of us thought that back then.

1069 days ago


If Bob killed her then how did he manage to get her into the dingy and lower it into the sea with her body in it without the captain seeing or hearing that part?

1069 days ago


Fyi.... Its St. Augustine, Fl

1069 days ago


I have ALWAYS thought that Robert Wagner was involved. From the first time I heard she was found dead...

1069 days ago


it takes a thief to kill a wood.....obviously he did it but she was messing with walken so she deserved it...
hey lady have a nice trip and see ya next by natalie

1069 days ago


Is amazed at how people think, "He's famous and couldn't murder someone". Get real folks! Robert Wagner got away with murder all these years same as O.j

1069 days ago


omg # 16 comment. My husband is absolutely convince that william ****ner killed his wife (or got someone to do it), and got away with it.

1069 days ago


Sounds like the ultimate PR move to sell this new book.

1069 days ago


What a way to promote your book.

1069 days ago


How do you get any new info in this case? . There were only 4 people on the boat & one is dead. Maybe there was foul play but here the list of possible suspects is very short

1069 days ago

Jay W.     

Nice pic of Natalie on the cover. She was a very beautiful woman.

1069 days ago


There has always been speculation.....about Wagner.

1069 days ago


I can't image anybody being jealous of Christopher Walken in terms of cheating but something clearly set off that fight between Natalie Wood & her husband. Wagner is def hiding something. Amazing he could do it for 30 yrs

1069 days ago

Rafaelle Zuccaro    

To this day, I think Wagner is just as guilty as OJ Simpson, Robert Blake and William ****ner of KILLING their wives- Just wait and see!!!

1069 days ago
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