Robert Wagner won’t aid Natalie Wood probe, cops say

LOS ANGELES — Since reopening the death investigation of Natalie Wood more 13 months ago, detectives have interviewed more than 100 witnesses and gathered new evidence.

But the one person detectives are most interested in talking to has so far refused several requests for interviews, they said: Wood’s husband, actor Robert Wagner.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Lt. John Corina said Wagner is the only person on the boat at the time Wood drowned off Catalina Island, Calif., in 1981 not to speak to detectives assigned to the new examination.

“We reached out through his attorney and got rebuffed. We went to his home and he refused to talk us and we sent him a letter, so I say it is fair to say he has declined to be interviewed, repeatedly,” Corina said.

Wagner gave three interviews to detectives during the original investigation three decades ago. But Corina said the actor “changed his story over the years, as has the caretaker of the vessel.”

Wood’s death was originally listed as an accident. But earlier this week, the Los Angeles County coroner’s office announced it had changed the cause of death to “undetermined.”

A coroner’s report released Monday cited unexplained fresh bruising on the actress’ right forearm, left wrist and right knee, along with a scratch on her neck and a superficial scrape on her forehead. Officials said the wounds open the possibility that she was assaulted before drowning.

The Sheriff’s Department has stressed that detectives have not determined whether a crime occurred aboard the boat and that there are no suspects.

Corina said Thursday that detectives simply want as clear a narrative about what happened on the boat as possible. “There are four people on that boat that night and now one of them is dead. Something happened,” he said.

Wagner’s attorney, Blair Berk, released a statement Thursday evening saying that Wagner and his family have fully cooperated with authorities.

“After 30 years, neither Mr. Wagner nor his daughters have any new information to add to this latest investigation, which was unfortunately prompted by those seeking to exploit and sensationalize the 30th anniversary of the death of his wife and their mother,” Berk said.

The coroner’s report noted “conflicting statements” about when Wood disappeared, and whether she had argued with Wagner. Wagner and Christopher Walken, Wood’s co-star in the film “Brainstorm,” were aboard the 60-foot yacht where the actress was last seen alive Nov. 28, 1981.

Hours before her death, authorities said, the three actors had had dinner at Doug’s Harbor Reef restaurant and then returned to the yacht, called the Splendour, where they drank, and an argument ensued between Walken and Wagner.

According to the new autopsy report, Wood went missing about midnight, and an analysis of her stomach contents placed her death around that time. The report said Wagner placed a radio call to report her missing at 1:30 a.m.

The original investigators believed Wood sustained her bruises after falling off the yacht and struggling to pull herself from the water into a rubber dinghy, whose starboard side bore scratch marks that seemed consistent with that theory.

But in his report, Coroner Lakshmanan Sathyavagiswaran noted that investigators did not take nail clippings from Wood’s body to determine whether she had made the scratch marks, and the dinghy was no longer available to be examined. The coroner believes Wood died soon after entering the water.

News about detectives claiming Wagner would not be interviewed was first reported by The Associated Press.

More in Local News

Young woman missing from Mukilteo found safe

She called her parents and told them she was at a museum in Seattle.

Mom and brother turn in suspect in Stanwood robberies

The man is suspected of robbing the same gas station twice, and apologizing to the clerk afterward.

Edmonds police are searching for Derrick “Wiz” Crawford, 22, in the homicide of his roommate. If you see him, call 911. (Edmonds Police Department)
Roommate suspected in Edmonds killing found hiding in closet

Police had been searching for him for 10 days before locating him at a house in Everett.

Video shows man suspected of attacking a woman in Edmonds

The man allegedly threw her on the ground, then ran away after the she began kicking and screaming.

Navy to put filter in Coupeville’s contaminated water system

Chemicals from firefighting foam was found in the town’s drinking water.

Officials to test sanity of suspect in Everett crime spree

He allegedly tried to rob and clobber a transit worker, then fled and struggled with police.

Katharine Graham, then CEO and chairwoman of the board of The Washington Post Co., looks over a copy of The Daily Herald with Larry Hanson, then The Herald’s publisher, during her visit to Everett on Sept. 20, 1984. The Washington Post Co. owned The Herald from 1978 until 2013. (Herald archives)
Everett’s brush with Katharine Graham, leader of ‘The Post’

Retired Herald publisher Larry Hanson recalls The Washington Post publisher’s visits.

Former Monroe cop loses appeal on sex crimes conviction

Once a highly respected officer, he was found guilty of secretly videotaping his kids’ babysitter.

Camano Island man gets 18 years for role in drug ring

He was convicted of helping lead a drug distribution network in four Washington counties.

Most Read