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Lana Wood

Cpt. Says Wagner Left Wood

'To Teach Her a Lesson'

11/18/2011 11:50 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

111811_lana_wood_videoLana Wood is telling a chilling story about the night her sister died -- that Robert Wagner knew Natalie Wood was in the water ... but instructed the captain of the yacht to "leave her there, teach her a lesson."

In an interview with TMZ, Lana says Captain Dennis Davern told her several details about Natalie's death ... including that there was a drunken fight between Wagner and Natalie that night in 1981.

Lana claims Wagner -- or RJ, as she calls him -- didn't call her until 2 days after Natalie's death and offered her no explanation, other than ... "it was an accident."

As for the reopening of the investigation, Lana says her sister "deserves the truth" -- and she never bought the official explanation about Natalie and the dinghy ... because she knows her sister was afraid she would die in "dark water."

121 COMMENTS

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Previous 15 Comments | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7
91.

rockyroad    

She seems messed up . . . drunk.

RJ seems to have been in control of the situation. He seems to have had everyone on board with is version of events.

Bad news.

1032 days ago
92.

Pegasus    

Witness Who Heard Natalie Wood Screaming Will Talk To DetectivesWitness Who Heard Natalie Wood Screaming Will Talk To Detectives
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Posted on Nov 19, 2011 @ 04:55PM print it send it By Radar Staff

A woman who heard screen siren Natalie Wood yelling for help on the night she died in 1981 has told RadarOnline.com that she will cooperate with law enforcement investigators who've reopened the mysterious case three decades later.

In an exclusive interview, Marilyn Wane said: "I have not yet spoken to the police, it hasn't come up. But I'd speak to any police that came to me to ask a question, for sure."

Wane is considered a sensational new "ear-witness" in the case. She was guest on an adjacent yacht, roughly 90 feet from the Splendour, the yacht on which Wood, 43, was cruising with husband Robert Wagner and actor Christophe Walken in 1981, just hours before her Thanksgiving weekend death.

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Wane said she heard, "This female voice yelling for help. 'Somebody help me, I'm drowning! Please somebody help me, I'm drowning'."

Wane never spoke to police, she admitted to RadarOnline.com from her Los Angeles home.

"I was never asked," she said, "and to be honest, I would have thought it (the case) would have been dead and buried after all this time, but I guess not.

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"Everything that happened has been widely reported. So I don't know why the case been reopened, now. I am not sure why this new interest has been aroused.

"Don't we have enough current crime that we have to go back 30 years? It's kind of unusual."

Wood was presumed drowned, according to authorities. They theorized that she accidentally fell overboard when apparently trying to secure a dinghy that was banging against the side of the yacht and keeping her awake.

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In a sudden twist, the captain of the boat on the night in question, Dennis Davern, has blamed Wagner for Wood's death.

When Davern was asked in a live television interview if Wagner, 81, was "responsible" for Wood's death, he said: “Yes, I would say so.”

He claimed Wagner had asked him not to take steps to find his wife.

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It was a matter of, “We're not going to look too hard, we're not going to turn on the search light, we're not going to notify anybody right at the moment," Davern told NBC's Today on Friday.

Asked at a news conference on Friday if Wagner was a suspect, a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s lieutenant said point blank, "No."

The actor's spokesman has questioned Davern's motives since the captain has published a book about Wood's death.

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"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,” a statement read.

1032 days ago
93.

Luv    

I'm sorry that Lana has to relive her sister's death. It's difficult enough the first time, but to go through it again is unthinkable. Peace be with you, Lana.

1032 days ago
94.

als    

Their will be so man scenarios before this is over. I think the Capt. is lying and that he made a play 4 her and she rejected him and he got angry and accidently killed her. I think he has been calling Lana through the years with his drunken rants because he feels guilty. I think now he is trying to sell a book and targeted Wagner to take the attention away from him as well as to capitalize on the sensationalism of the story.

1032 days ago
95.

Melissa    

They need to give RJ, the Captain and Christopher Walkin a lie detector test. That will bring out the whole truth. It should be admissable in court if it gets that far. If RJ told the captain to leave her in the water to teach her a lesson, it's like he killed her himself. The truth must come out, so Natalie can rest in peace, and her sister deserves to know.

1031 days ago
96.

Butterfly    

IF IT IS TRUE that Robert Wagner said to, "Teach her a lesson," is something many of us have said but never followed thru to actually KILL the person. Natalie would never, never attempt to go into the water because she was deathly afraid of the dark and COULD NOT SWIM! The captain admitted to being drunk, so, how can he recall what really happened? Unless someone comes up with SOLID PROOF I will NOT believe Robert Wagner killed his wife. It is interesting that these questions have come up after thirty years of silence. If there were serious questions about Natalie's death, why didn't these people insist on keeping her tragic death alive until finally solved? Up to now, it makes no sense. I hope and pray that Natalie will be able to, finally, Rest in Peace.

1031 days ago
97.

Pegasus    

Natalie Wood Could Have Been Saved: Secret Account From Never-Before-Interviewed Coast Guard WitnessNatalie Wood Could Have Been Saved: Secret Account From Never-Before-Interviewed Coast Guard Witness
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posted on Nov 21, 2011 @ 01:45PM print it send it
WENNBy Dylan Howard,
Senior Executive Editor, Star Magazine

The Coast Guard captain who pulled screen siren Natalie Wood out of the water after she drowned 30 years ago has told homicide detectives that her life could have been saved, RadarOnline.com has exclusively learned.

Roger Smith was the Supervising Rescue Boat Captain on Catalina Island, Calif., on November 29, 1981 -- the day the three-time Oscar nominated actress was found drowned.

He said he was never interviewed at the time cops were investigating Wood's death.

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In a sworn statement presented to the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department, Smith said he got a call at 5:00am that fateful morning informing him that the West Side Story star had been missing from the yacht, Splendour, for several hours.

Smith wrote that if he had been contacted sooner, Wood could still be alive today.

In the declaration he authored in support of the dramatic re-opening of the case surrounding the actress’s death, Smith stated that he was left baffled why nothing was done sooner to find the starlet, who had gone missing around 11:00pm the night before.

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“I have always wondered about the delayed call for professional help to rescue Natalie Wood,” Smith said.

“Always regretting that I hadn't been called early enough as I believe there may have been a true chance of saving Natalie, as the condition of her body after being brought ashore suggested she may have floated alive for several hours.

“Her fingers were pliable, and her face and body not showing certain effects being deceased in an ocean for hours would normally incur.”

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Smith revealed that he was so upset by the incident that he even looked into how long Wood could have lasted in the sea off the California coast before getting aid.

“I did some research on how long someone like Natalie could survive in the water holding on to the inflatable boat” he said.

He was going by her then-husband Robert Wagner’s account that the actress had tried to secure the “banging dinghy” that was disturbing her sleep as it hit loudly against the boat and fell in the water while attempting the procedure.

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“It ended up to be 3.3 to 4.9 hours,” Smith said.

“Depending on her willingness to survive. That meant she was drifting with the boat being pushed by the wind and not being strong enough to pull herself back into the boat. She must have cried for help and no one could hear her that late at night with the wind blowing off shore.”

Wood was last seen by Wagner, now 81, around 11pm, but authorities were not notified until some six hours later.

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“The Baywatch Isthmus boat was equipped with all of the rescue equipment needed to find her, if we had been called,” Smith said.

He also described, in the declaration, the state of Wood's body when he pulled her onto deck of his rescue boat.

“She had a burgundy night gown with nothing underneath,” he recalled. “Her arms and fingers moved very easy as I removed her rings; she showed no signs of rigor mortis.”

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“She must have been hanging onto the safety line on the boat drifting out of the harbor for hours. Her eyes were still open so I closed them and covered her with a blanket.”

He claimed he was treated as the “fall guy” and was demoted from his position four months after the incident which he had held for 10 years.

Smith said he had fought against cutbacks to the service before Wood's death and warned his superiors that they were jeopardizing the possibility of loss of life outside of their mainly 9-to-5 operation.

“So the famous Natalie Wood is gone,” Smith told the cops, who reopened the cold case.

“She died because of politics and poor decision making on many peoples’ part, as she cried for help for hours that night.”

1030 days ago
98.

Derek    

Looks like Lana could now be called "Plenty O'Booze & Bloat" The Sheriff's look like morons for reopening this rehash of 30 years ago. My god...Wagner is 80 let the guy die on top of Jill St. John and leave him alone. It was an accident people fall off boats drunk all the time, just ask Dennis Wilson.

1028 days ago
99.

Peter    

While I like Robert Wagner, I do believe he is guilty of leaving her in the water - "to show her a lesson".

1026 days ago
100.

JC    

I can't imagine everybody saying "To Hell with justice, this is old news!". Would you say that about Charlie Manson too? It doesn't matter how long ago it was, they didn't investigate it properly back then, so hopefully they'll do that now.

He killed a great star of our time, one of the best ever, and for no good reason. So he needs to finally pay the piper.

1001 days ago
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