Robert Wagner Named Person of Interest in Natalie Wood Investigation

by at .  Updated at .

Back in 1981, actress Natalie Wood drowned off the coast of Catalina Island.

The beloved star of such film classics as West Side Story, Miracle on 34th Street and Rebel Without a Cause was just 43 years old.

Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner

In the decades since Wood's death, the suspicion that she was murdered by husband Robert Wagner has persisted - and with good reason.

In 2014, Wagner was questioned by police in connection with his wife's death.

In 2016, it was widely rumored that the actor would be taken into police custody, but the arrest was never made.

Speculation about Wagner's possible motives has varied widely over the years, but the most popular theory these days seems to be this:

Wood walked in on her husband in bed with friend Christopher Walken while the three actors were on an overnight yachting expedition.

Natalie Wood Picture

Wagner chased Wood on deck, the story goes, and she either slipped, hit her head, and fell in the water, or he struck her and dumped her unconscious body overboard, where she drowned.

It may sound outlandish, but it's not just tabloids and social media gossip hounds who are still interested in the details of that fateful night.

In 2011, the investigation was re-opened, and Wood's cause of death was officially changed from “accidental drowning” to “drowning and other undetermined factors.”

On Saturday night, a new 48 Hours special entitled "Natalie Wood: Death in Dark Water" will debut on CBS.

The episode features conversations with some of the authorities who have been investigating Woods' passing for six years now - and they say they're ready to interrogate Wagner:

Robert Wagner Picture

"As we've investigated the case over the last six years, I think he's (Wagner) more of a person of interest now," says John Corina, of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

"I mean, we know now that he was the last person to be with Natalie before she disappeared."

Public suspicion of Wagner and Walken began shortly after Wood's death when it was revealed that they claimed she unexpectedly set out by herself in a dinghy in the middle of the night.

When family and friends revealed that Wood had a crippling fear of water and drowning, the actors changed their stories.

"I haven't seen him (Wagner) tell the details that match all the other witnesses in this case," Corina says.

"I think he's constantly changed his story a little bit. And his version of events just don't add up." 

The special also features an interview with Detective Ralph Hernandez, who recently evaluated Wood's autopsy report and confirmed that the actress had fresh bruises on her body at the time of her death.

"She looked like a victim of an assault," Hernandez says.

Producers of 48 Hours say Wagner declined their request to comment on the story.

Show Comments
Tags: , , ,