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Natalie Wood

May Have Struggled for Hours

Before She Died

11/18/2011 6:07 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Natalie Wood
Natalie Wood
was wearing a red down jacket when authorities discovered her body 30 years ago ... and her wardrobe could prove she floated alive in dark water for hours while Robert Wagner allegedly stalled rescue efforts.

Marti Rulli -- the author of the book that triggered cops to re-open the investigation into Wood's death -- performed a forensic test on down coats similar to Natalie's ... which proved a down jacket acts like a life preserver in water ... "it will not sink, but instead remains floating."

Rulli's finding completely contradicts the opinion of the coroner in the case -- who insisted the jacket would have sapped Natalie's strength and weighed her down in the ocean.

Wood's body was discovered in the ocean off Catalina Island -- hours after she went missing from a cruise with her husband Robert Wagner and Christopher Walken.

Originally, law enforcement believed Wood slipped off the boat while trying to tie down a dinghy. But now, cops have doubts ... after the captain revealed Wood and Wagner had been arguing intensely before she went missing.

The captain also claimed Wagner instructed the crew to NOT call in the Coast Guard to aid in search and rescue efforts once they realized Natalie had gone missing.

95 COMMENTS

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16.

nancyh    

I have to agree with CountryGal on this one, if it was my family member I would want closure NO matter how many years it took. I think it's pretty sad that he knew she was deathly afraid of water especially dark water and that was the way she died. If you weren't guilty of something you would call the cops and Coast Guard to come and help find your wife hopefully while she was still alive, unless you knew she was already dead and she was thrown over. It never made since that she was out tying the dingy when she was afraid of the water she would have asked someone else to do it most likely. I also thought it was strange that he hooked up with Jill so soon afraid her death. If the story is true about Wagner and Walken caught together in bed by Natalie before the fight started than it makes alot of sense that Wagner didn't want anything told to the cops about that fight that night. Holding information and telling the Captain to keep his mouth shut is a huge red flag to Guilty!!! It's to bad that it took him 30 years to come clean and the anniversary of her death. If he had told the truth 30 years ago than justice could have been served but once again being a celebrity you even get away with murder.

1040 days ago
17.

Zadoc    

It's seems awfully fishy that people waited until 30 years later to come forward with a new story.

POLL: Do you think Natalie Wood's death was really an accident?
Vote: http://www.wepolls.com/p/5169463

1040 days ago
18.

Giggles    

The down kept Natalie floating? Down doesn't sink? The ducks must be surprised to hear this. Why are the police surprised to hear this?

1040 days ago
19.

Scooter    

Marti Rulli knows nothing about down jackets & water. I doubt she used the same jacket.
For years people have been warned not to wear them in boats on the water. Since Wood lived in LA & didn't go where it was cold unless it was for a vacation or a movie location, she naturally would have worn down, it's the lightest & best way to stay warm.
But a a Chicagoan, who owns down coats for years & washes his own, they soak up water better than a sponge!
A wet down jacket weighs at least 10 lbs, maybe much more as I last washed mine in the spring before packing it away for the season.
It takes about two - three hours to properly dry a down jacket & that also requires throwing an old gym shoe onto the dryer to help fluff up the down so it all drys.

1040 days ago
20.

croc    

maybe the 2 men killed her BEFORE they
put the life jacket on. then tossed her overboard.
she caught them in bed together, they knocked her out
forced booze down her throat,unclipped the dinghy,threw her in the water..

1040 days ago
21.

Rhubino    

I'd love to have seen Marti Rulli's "forensic" testing of down filled jackets. Did she go to the used clothing store, by some jackets, go back home and throw them in her swimming pool while she lounged back and sipped a margarita and observed that they didn't sink? Maybe she should have tried having 10 drinks, a couple ludes, put on a jacket and roll into the pool herself.

1040 days ago
22.

Barbara    

All three were drunk....sh#t happens and I doubt anyone can remember what really did happen. Leave her in peace...she left children behind who do not need all this muck raking going on. Robert and Christopher all stand up good men. The boat captain is getting some money doing interviews...where was he back then with this story...

1040 days ago
23.

OhWowLike    

How is it that a person ON A BOAT goes missing and no one calls the Coast Guard for hours? The captain is as culpable as Wagner, IF this story is true. I find it awfully fishy that this 'news' is coming out in connection with the book. Again, IF this is true (the delay in notifying officials), the Captain is as morally bankrupt as McQueary.

1040 days ago
24.

Jan    

It's not news that they were arguing - that was the story at the time she died. I don't believe this story. I believe there may be details we don't know, but I do NOT believe Robert Wagner had anything to do with her death.

1040 days ago
25.

OhWowLike    

The autopsy report states that her body was covered with dozens of bruises, some only a few days old. How horrible. How is she going to get those while struggling in WATER?

http://martirulli.blogspot.com/2010/02/natalie-wood-autopsy-bruises-front.html

1040 days ago
26.

beachgal    

Down is heavy when it gets wet, the jacket would not have helped her float.

1040 days ago
27.

ckrotchy    

BROKEN LANCE was the start of robert wagners playing of hollywood females.He played my mother jean peters on my father howard robard hughes jr and they worked with and for the studio bosses and the communistes inside the studios to play and kill off dad and later me.Mom played us until stan hughe than ran back into the studio mob and there were too many near death battles to recall them all as howard fought the arms race and the studio systems trying to steal his war contracts they won and robert is still in play for thiert mob,with nat he hooked one he could`nt control and he was a mad man from the start and is still the studio player biiicth^^^ even at 80plus the pattern was set years ago and can be seen from the studiuos actions

1040 days ago
28.

THIN LIZZY    

RW had something to do with her death. Walken has been silent about that night for decades. Natalie was a hot piece of azz and back in that Hollywood time, they all screwed each other.

1040 days ago
29.

Charlie Sheen's Watch    

Don't be stupid people - this guy brings this up when he is selling a book.

Please, are you people moronic? What makes a book sell? Controversy!

1040 days ago
30.

capnborg    

I talked to a guy in Avalon who said he was working at that restaurant when all that went down. He said it was just an accident, she left the restaurant drunk before the others because she bored with the two of them, she was wearing a down coat and fell in while getting from the dingy to the boat. Wagner asked him to get red of the drugs before the authorities arrived. Our sheriff needs a distraction from the street protests.

1040 days ago
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