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Was Robert Wagner Responsible for Natalie Wood’s Death? [VIDEO]

Evening Standard, Getty Images

Thirty years after her death by drowning on Southern California’s Catalina Island, questions remain about the mysterious demise of actress Natalie Wood — and now a boat captain is alleging he knows what happened.

Dennis Davern, who helmed the yacht that Wood, her husband Robert Wagner, and their friend Christopher Walken were on that fateful night, told NBC’s ‘Today’ show on Friday that he believes Wagner, best known for his role on TV’s ‘Hart to Hart,’ was ultimately responsible for Wood’s death.

“I made mistakes by not telling the honest truth in a police report,” Davern told show host David Gregory about the November 29, 1981 tragedy, and said he’d urged Los Angeles County sheriff’s homicide investigators to reopen the case.

When Gregory pointedly asked, “Was [a] fight between Natalie Wood and her husband Robert Wagner what ultimately led to her death?” Davern replied, “Yes,” but declined to go into detail, saying it was “going to be up to the investigators to decide.”

Davern also alleged Wagner intentionally kept the investigation into Wood’s death low profile and didn’t do everything he could have done.

Police have long believed that after a night of drinking with Wagner and Walken, the actress wandered off alone, fell from the yacht they were on and, being unable to swim, ultimately drowned. Wood, famous for roles in ‘Miracle on 34th Street,’ ‘Rebel Without a Cause,’ and ‘West Side Story,’ was 43.

In a statement, Wagner’s spokesman Alan Nierob said:

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.”

Vanity Fair magazine, which recently interviewed Davern, notes that the boat captain has repeatedly given conflicting accounts of the events, has previously told his story through tabloids, and has been shopping for a book deal for years.

[USA Today]

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