When Natalie Wood died on that boat thirty years ago, I thought it was murder. Everything I heard pointed to it and I blamed Robert Wagner. Now the captain of the ship, one of four people who were present that night, has written a book on the thirtieth anniversary of her death. More details seem to be coming out now. The case is being reopened by investigators. It’s about time.
Let me tell you what we do know and you decide if it sounds like an accident or murder to you. I got a lot of this information from a good friend because 48 Hours was a waste of time. Here we go:
There were four people on that boat the night Natalie Wood drowned: Natalie, the captain, Robert Wagner (her husband), and Christopher Walken, her costar. Robert Wagner reportedly said that he last saw his wife fixing her hair in the bathroom. Natalie was in her flannel nightgown and socks, apparently getting ready for bed. The autopsy revealed that there were two undigested pills in her intestine, possibly sleeping pills.
We also know that Natalie Wood was extremely afraid of the water. Her sister said that this is because their mother told her that she would die in cold, dark water. Does it make sense that Natalie would try to get on a dinghy, in the dark of night, in her nightgown when she is so afraid of drowning? True she had been drinking, but so had her husband and Christopher Walken. There was a lot of arguing going on that night, with Wagner accusing Walken of wanting to sleep with his wife. Wagner was in a jealous rage and full of alcohol. A deadly combination. The captain says Natalie would have never taken the dinghy down herself, she would have asked him to do it, if she had intended to get in it.
If she accidentally fell overboard, for some reason, wouldn’t she have been screaming for help? No one heard a sound. If she had hit her head hard against the boat and was unconscious there would have been an severe head injury, but there wasn’t. The boat they were on wasn’t that big at all. The captain says he even had to play his radio loudly to drown out the arguing that had been going on all night. The captain stated that he saw Wagner and Woods arguing on the deck and shortly after Wagner went to him saying he couldn’t find Natalie. So evidently, the statement Wagner made that he last saw her brushing her hair in the bathroom was a lie. The captain searched the boat for her, but never found her. She was missing and Wagner was not that concerned because he poured drinks for himself and the captain and told him not to alert anyone that she was missing. For all anyone knows, according to my friend, Wagner himself could have unsecured the dinghy after throwing her into the water to make it look like she left on her own.
The captain feels that Robert Wagner had something to do with her death. The captain told a story at the time, that was consistent with the facts that Wagner wanted to reveal. However, when Natalie was missing, during the first 15 minutes or so, the captain wanted to put on the ship’s light and start a search. Wagner told him not to do that, to leave her out there and teach her a lesson…a lesson that lasted 4 hours and ended in her death. Natalie was found a mile from the dinghy, wearing a down jacket over her nightgown. Wagner wasn’t the one to identify the body either, the captain did that.
Wagner theorizes that Natalie was trying to leave the yacht when she accidentally slipped and fell. However, a woman in a nearby yacht heard a woman screaming for help around midnight. The cries lasted for 15 minutes and then she heard a voice call out, “Take it easy, we’ll be over to get you.”
I didn’t know half of this information thirty years ago and I thought it was murder then. I am more than convinced of it now. This facts just don’t add up to an accident. Whatever happened, there are still three people from that boat who are alive and can tell us. One of them, Christopher Walken, has hired himself a lawyer to advise him. Wagner, who is 81 and has lived out his glorious life happily married to Stephanie Powers, is not a suspect, or so they say. For me he is and always has been the number one suspect. The case was closed way too fast and not enough investigating was done. All of these facts should have been pursued at the time of her death, not thirty years later. And what about this person Marilyn Wayne, who heard a woman’s shouts for help that were ignored? Well investigators evidently ignored what she had to say too.
I hope Christopher Walken knows exactly what happened and opens up about it. Three people were there, give them all lie detector tests and get to the bottom of it already. It’s time that Natalie Wood rest in peace.