Why Won't Robert Wagner Talk to Detectives About Natalie Wood?

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Natalie Wood's death is one of the most lasting and perplexing Hollywood mysteries, and the intrigue is not being laid to rest any time soon. Interest in the case was revived again this week when the cause of Wood's death was changed from "accidental drowning" to "drowning and other undetermined factors" and a coroner's report noted other injuries on her body. Now, the Los Angeles Times is reporting that her husband, Robert Wagner, has refused to talk to detectives. Everyone else onboard during the 1981 boating incident has participated in the investigation. (And we're assuming that means Christopher Walken, who had taken that fateful trip with the couple, and not a Walken impersonator.)

The probe into Wood's death was reopened in November 2011, and this week a coroner's report pointed to bruises on her right forearm, left wrist, and right knee, a scratch on her neck, and a scrape on her that may have not been accidental. 

The lack of cooperation from Wagner, the 82-year-old star of The Pink Panther and the Austin Powers movies, only seems suspicious following accusations that he had a role in her death. Dennis Davern, the captain of Wood and Wagner's yacht, Splendour, maintains that Wagner had some part in her death. In November 2011 he told the Today show that he believed Wagner was responsible. As recently as this September CBS News got hold of audio interviews with Wood's sister who told Wood's biographer that Davern called her to further explain what happened that night. By that account Davern did not think that Wagner intended for Wood to die, but neglected her after she fell overboard. When the news broke of the case being reopened Reuters reported that detectives maintained that Wagner was not a suspect. 

In a 2008 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Wagner said, "I have gone over it so many millions of times with people. Nobody heard anything." Before the investigation was reopened  it had been believed that Wood drowned after going on deck to tie up a loose dinghy. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.