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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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31.

patrick malone    

Hypothetic Scenario: explosive argument on back deck of boat. In furious moment of
uncontrolled anger Ms Wood entered dinghy with intent of rowing ashore.
anger impacted by frustrating incapacity to correctly manipulate the
oars to properly maneuver the dinghy may well have led to a situation
that one oar slipped her grasp. In her alleged fear of the darkened
waters, she lunged for the oar, only to fall from the dinghy into
the sea. If so, in her terror, she would have aggressively attempted to re-enter the dinghy, even violently so, heavily bruising herself, exhausting herself in the process, eventually,
to her demise.
More logical than 'tieing down the dink'.

1014 days ago
32.

Mark    

Robert Wagner killed her because he was having an affair with Jill St. John who he married shortly thereafter!

1014 days ago
33.

Kelly    

In the original police report, which used to be located on crimelibrarydotcom before trutv took it over, Wagner admitted to the argument between him and Walken over what he thought was Walken "making the moves on Natalie".

1014 days ago
34.

eviemae    

Number one cause of drowning... "Panic"

1014 days ago
35.

eviemae    

The number one reason people drown is "Panic"

1014 days ago
36.

Chris    

Repeat: Why was SHE tying a dinghy? Especially with at least 3 men on board the boat??

And tying a dinghy for what reason? Had she been somewhere in it? Had someone else been somewhere else in the dinghy? A lot of unanswered questions to just bru***** all off as an accident.

And who doesn't look out for his wife on the edge of a boat in the open ocean? A murderer, that's who.

1014 days ago
37.

Chris    

Tying a dinghy? In those days, women prided themselves on being feminine and many wouldn't even pump gas, especially beautiful starlets like Natalie.....the thought that Natalie was the on tyeing a dinghy with 2 other men, PLUS a boat captain, on board is laughable.

1014 days ago
38.

Daniel C.    

Robert Wagner! What are you doing here? I sent you to Cleveland!

1014 days ago
39.

james    

I always thought there was foul play. What kind of Captain waits when an emergency happens?

1014 days ago
40.

Ghost Rider    

If its your boat, its your responsibility, so Wagner is 100% responsible regardless of what anyone thinks.

1014 days ago
41.

CRAZYGIRL    

Something smells fishy!!!Jill St John, don't go boating with RJ!!!!!!

1014 days ago
42.

Dominic    

Sorry for a minute she looked like Rocky Horror in that pic. Anyway, who know what happened on that boat, hopefully there will finally be some answers to some of these questions

1014 days ago
43.

patty    

this is just wild conjecture - they were in 2 harbors, not avalon, its a little tiny place and was about 100 boat moorings - 1 reasturant and 1 store and hatbor was completly full cuz it was a holiday, if she fell over, there wasn't room for her to float for hours and tying up a dingy is not weird - if some left too much slack in the rope and it was bouncing off the hull - she would have been tightening up the dingy. my parents were there and said she was a drunken mess at doug's reef bar - there were 4 ppl all togther capt, natalie, robert chris, and they were all completly loaded on a boat in the dark - you do the math - thats why it wasn't hard to believe she could storm off the back of boat and fall - every one there saw how drunk she was that night - they were really loud in the bar, thats why it was deemed accident, if some thing else happened no one including natalie was sober euff to really know i think - including the captain -

1014 days ago
44.

patty    

and btw - robert wagner didn't marry jill st john until 8 years after natalie died and natalie's sister and robert never spoke after natalie let robert adopt her daughter after bio father died - natalie's sister mad cuz she wanted guardianship, never spoke to robert again, and i bet the only reason capt. didn't call coast guard right away becuase he was too drunk and would have been in huge trouble since he was the captain and drove them in dingy that wasted, he would have been liable for every thing - especially if he did tie dinghy down right

1014 days ago
45.

Pegasus    

RJ and Natalie had problems because RJ was messwing around with Jill St.John who he married after Natalie's death.

1014 days ago
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