It’s been almost 40 years since Lana Wood lost her sister – and she’s determined to find out what really happened.
In 1981, Natalie Wood’s body was found off Catalina Island in California. The 43-year-old, who was afraid of dark water, wore a red puffer jacket and a nightgown. She had been drinking heavily aboard a yacht with her husband, Robert Wagner, and co-star Christopher Walken. The only other person on board was the ship’s captain, Dennis Davern.
“As far as I’m concerned, we’re still on the case,” Wood told Fox News. “I hope that maybe someone’s son or daughter would have seen or remembered something. There must be more people who know something. “
The fellow actress recently wrote a memoir titled “Little sister: my investigation into the mysterious death of Natalie Wood” where she sheds light on the details surrounding the case and how she has fought for answers over the years.
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Authorities initially ruled that the death was accidental drowning. However, that changed after years of review and new witnesses. In 2011, authorities reopened the investigation after Davern said he overheard the couple arguing on the night of Natalie’s disappearance.
The Los Angeles coroner’s office amended Wood’s death certificate in 2012 to include “drowning and other undetermined factors.” The change in part because investigators couldn’t rule out that some of the bruises and marks on Wood’s body occurred before she entered the water, according to the report. Wood was not wearing a life jacket, had no history of attempted suicide, and had left no notes.
The report also revealed that investigators had not saved Wood’s fingernails to determine if she had attempted to make her way into the dinghy. Scratches were found on the hull of the craft.
Then, in 2018, the lead detective in the case said Wagner was seen as a person of interest. The actor, now 91, has denied any involvement in Natalie’s death and no charges have been filed. Her spokesperson made no comment when Fox News contacted Lana Wood’s book.
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That same year, Lana Wood and Davern took part in a podcast called “Fatal Voyage” which singled out Wagner. At the time, a spokesperson for Wagner told Fox News: “They are despicable human beings, capitalizing on the accidental death of a beloved member of the Wagner family. They should be ashamed of themselves. “
Lana Wood, who has no relationship with the actor, said she had previously begged Wagner to speak to investigators handling the case.
“I couldn’t understand why he didn’t want to talk to detectives,” the 75-year-old said. “He never did. And I don’t know if he ever will. Will there ever be a confession on his deathbed? Probably not. It seems to be like this. All I can do is print the truth. “
Lana Wood said she had no doubts that Wagner was “responsible” for what happened to her sister.
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“There were two people in the back of the boat and then there was only one,” she said. “I hold him responsible. “
In a 2008 memoir, Wagner wrote that he and Walken had an argument on the night in question. When he went to bed, the star noticed that his wife and an inflatable boat that had been tied to the yacht were missing.
“There are only two possibilities,” Wagner wrote. “Either she was trying to get away from the argument or she was trying to tie up the canoe. But the bottom line is that no one knows exactly what happened. “
Walken, now 78, has spoken little publicly over the years about the incident and has at times offered blunt responses when in a rush. However, he told Playboy in 1997 that he thought Wood was probably half asleep and slipped, hit his head, and fell from the canoe.
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Lana Wood said Natalie was unlikely to attempt to leave the boat on her own.
“It’s pretty drastic for Natalie,” explained the former Bond girl. “She has always had a weakness for being alone. I had flown to New York several times to stay with her because she would call and say, ‘There’s no one here. How fast can you get here? ‘ And then I would do whatever I could to get on a plane and be with her. Being alone has always been a problem for her. So I can’t imagine she would try to leave a boat in the middle of the darkness on her own. ”
Lana Wood has claimed that she has tried to hook up with Natalie’s daughters over the years, raised by Wagner.
“I have sent countless letters and made many photo calls,” she said. ” But I understand. Their mother died and their father was the only parent they had left. So of course they were going to believe everything he said. It’s devastating what happened to these girls. But I tried. “
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Lana Wood said HBO had already approached her for their documentary “Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind”. It featured interviews with Natalie’s relatives, close friends and confidants, including her daughter Natasha Gregson Wagner. However, Wood claimed to have told the network that she would agree to participate on the condition that she sit in private with the 51-year-old.
“I wanted to make sure she felt comfortable with me doing it,” Wood said. “I didn’t get a clear answer. So I thought about it and said, ‘I can’t work with someone who thinks badly of me or doesn’t want to see me. Don’t want to talk to me. I’m just not comfortable with it. I said no. And I think that’s the only time I turned down something that had to do with Natalie… I guess it always will be.
A rep for the actress did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
Lana Wood has said she will continue to press for answers regarding her sister’s tragic death. Natalie, she said, would have done the same for her.
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“I hope that after reading this book people will learn what Natalie was like and what she went through,” said Wood.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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Natalie Wood’s sister says she doesn’t expect ‘a deathbed confession’ from Robert Wagner over star’s death E! News UK