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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

No Avatar
46.

capnborg    

L.A. county sheriff Lee Baca has opened a dramatic case about a movie star who drowned thirty years ago even though there is no new evidence that would give anyone reason to do so. But Lee Baca knows that by doing so he will keep the media glued to a story that keeps the press from reporting people fighting for jobs and fair compensation in our country while he tramples all over their civil rights in the streets of L.A.

968 days ago
47.

Chun LI    

Wagner is a POS.I've always suspected he had something to do with this.

968 days ago
48.

Betty    

I was so sad when I heard Natalie Wood died and even back then I didn't believe for a minute that there wasn't more to the story...here we are 30 years later with new technology. Let see what happens.

967 days ago
49.

John Galt    

Q: What kind of wood doesn't float?
A: Natalie Wood

967 days ago
50.

Shasmith    

Everybody knows Robert Wagner had something to do with her drowning. If he didn't shove her in he did nothing to find her. To let her flounder (no pun intended) in the water for hours sounds just like him. And then delaying calling authorities or letting any one else call authorities is just not right. They could have saved her. At that time he was on an ego trip being a celebrity and all he thought he had rights, just like Tiger Woods, and he's not the first celebrity to kill his wife and not go to jail. Robert Wagner has something to do with her death.

967 days ago
51.

Shasmith    

Everybody knows Robert Wagner had something to do with her drowning. If he didn't shove her in he did nothing to find her. To let her flounder (no pun intended) in the water for hours sounds just like him. And then delaying calling authorities or letting any one else call authorities is just not right. They could have saved her. At that time he was on an ego trip being a celebrity and all he thought he had rights, just like Tiger Woods, and he's not the first celebrity to kill his wife and not go to jail. Robert Wagner has something to do with her death.

967 days ago
52.

andre`    

I hope Justice be heard and found. Peace may be in this once its solve. When you do things, dont always think you will get away because only time past, not the crime.

967 days ago
53.

Jacob    

Of course the down jacket didn't sink.. They found Ms Wood FLOATING on the ocean, dip****!.. It was an accident, but that isn't gonna stop you whores from trying to turn a buck on her death, 30 years later.. Somebody should walk into tmz and blow the place up, really!..

967 days ago
54.

Susie-Q    

It was 30 years ago but I remember it clearly. My gut instinct was he was involved in some way. Why doesn't Robert Wagner come clean and forget about the reverse mortgage commercials. Tell the truth about what happened. Justice for Natalie Woods. He was the love of her life. Tell it like it was RJ!!

967 days ago
55.

Thurston Howell III    

ReportDominic: 8 hours ago

that isn't true, survival varies from individual, I doubt the waters were at freezing temps, if true, could have been hours, some cases a day or two.

It sounded like wagner could have struck her with a blunt object thought she was dead or knock out afraid of the consequences got the jacket put it on tossed her into sea then concocted this story. Wasn't this all his story, and how could he know when he claimed he wasn't there?

-----------------------------------------------------------

I guess you have never been to So. Calif. in November. The water IS freezing.

967 days ago
56.

LVX156    

Robert Wagner got away with murder. SICK that he knew how scared she was of water and then allowed her to die in it. HANG the a**hole

967 days ago
57.

Pegasus    

Who Was Natalie Wood? The Movie Star Behind The Drowning CaseWho Was Natalie Wood? The Movie Star Behind The Drowning Case
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posted on Nov 18, 2011 @ 02:00PM print it send it
PolarisBy Radar Staff

Almost 30 years after she drowned while yachting off the coast of California's Catalina Island, the world is again fascinated with Natalie Wood as the police reopen the investigation into her death.

Many who are following the developments weren't even born when the beautiful actress mysteriously fell to her death, and RadarOnline.com is taking a look back on the life and death of the movie star.

PHOTOS: Celebs Who Died Young

Born in 1938, Wood was a successful child actress during the golden age of Hollywood and her part in the Christmas classic Miracle On 34th Street remains a holiday-viewing staple to this day.

It was her break out role in 1955's Rebel Without A Cause alongside James Dean that rocketed her to fame though and earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

PHOTOS: Celebrities Who Died In Bizarre Cir****tances

Both Dean, and Natalie's other co-star, Sal Mineo died young, leading the film's stars to be dubbed "the tragic three."

The pretty porcelain-skinned brunette went on to star in the timeless classics West Side Story and Gypsy, before winning Academy Awards for Best Actress in Splendour In The Grass and Love With The Proper Stranger.

PHOTOS: Celebrity Death Threats

Blossoming into a beautiful woman, Natalie was soon wooed by a string of older men, including Dennis Hopper, Elvis Presley and Robert Wagner, the man at the center of her drowning mystery, whom she had a childhood crush on and married in 1957 but divorced five years later.

Wood's on-screen success was marred by personal trauma including a suicide attempt in 1966 in the wake of her breakup from famous Hollywood Casanova Warren Beatty.

PHOTOS: Celebs We Lost In 2010

She went on to bounce back from the heartbreak to marry British producer Richard Gregson and gave birth to daughter, Natasha in 1970.

The couple separated just ten months later after Natalie learned her husband was having an affair with her secretary.

PHOTOS: Beautiful Celebs Who Have Been Cheated On

After her double heartbreak, Natalie circled back to her one true love, Wagner, and they reunited and married for a second time and welcomed their daughter, Courtney Wagner in 1974.

Wagner found fame on the small screen with the television series Hart To Hart while Natalie focused on raising their family.

PHOTOS: Celebrity Cheaters

When her children were older, the Oscar-winner attempted to return to acting in the early 80s by moving to North Carolina to star in Brainstorm with Christopher Walken, a move that may have caused irreparable damage to her marriage and possibly even led to her death.

After becoming close on set, Wood brought Walken back to Los Angeles for Thanksgiving and invited him to join her, Wagner, and boat captain Dennis Davern on the ill-fated boat trip to Catalina.

PHOTOS: Stars Who've Married Co-Stars

On Saturday, November 28, 1981, they all dined at a restaurant on Catalina Island where Natalie reportedly got drunk. Hours later she fell to her death off their yacht into the depths of the Pacific, in what was ruled an accidental drowning.

As RadarOnline.com previously reported, Davern told the Today Show on Friday that he had lied to officers investigating the death back in the early 80s, and he thinks Wagner is responsible.

PHOTOS: Celebs Involved In Murder

"I made some terrible decisions and mistakes," he told NBC's David Gregory. "I did lie on a report several years ago...I made mistakes by not telling the honest truth.”

He added, "We didn't take any steps to see if we could locate her...I think it was a matter of, 'We're not going to look too hard, we're not going to turn on the searchlight, we're not going to notify anybody right now.'"

PHOTOS: Sexy Stars Who Have Been Arrested

Investigators who have reopened the case said in a news conference that Wagner is not a suspect in her death.

Wagner's spokesman Alan Nierob said in a statement Thursday, "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 and 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."

967 days ago
58.

bailey    

Who the heck is natalie wood?

967 days ago
59.

Tom Victor    

He killed her like Captain Kirk and Baretta killed their wives. They inherit their money rather than pay them alimony.
It really doesn't matter anyway, she slept with Warren Beatey while married to Wagner.They're all a bunch of privledged overpaid pigs.

967 days ago
60.

JoseLizette_NJPhilly    

omg get a life! do u not understand, handsome age nicely rob wagner is nOt A SuSpect, the cop already said this. h love her soooooooooooooooooooo much.what a FASCINATIN'Story about the Beautiful Hollywood starlet,Natalie Wood,original dark hair lovely beauty and did not need to go BLONDE to be so gorgeous! but dark hair beauty like DEMI. i love how she did her make up hair,and so CHIC down to earth,real horrific bad ddeath to die this way RIP natalie we love you remember u always.
and i know many would not k now her but GOOGLE her such a beauty very talented,not cheap.and sad but i want to know in my 30s and mother 70s want to know finally what really happen to her.

RIP
fascinating story,nancy grace got EXCLUSIVE tonight.

go watch that wit the LIEING BOAT CAPTAIN.

967 days ago
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