Robert Wagner, a possible suspect in the death of his wife Natalie Wood nearly three decades ago, has reportedly refused to be interviewed in the reopened investigation of the cold case. A new autopsy report has cast doubt on Wagner’s claim that Wood's death was an accident, multiple news reports said.
While authorities confirmed at a news conference on Friday that the case was being reopened, they said that Wagner is not officially a suspect, the New York Daily News reported.
As previously reported on IBTimes, a coroner revised the original autopsy report of Natalie Wood (“West Side Story”). The most important development stemming from the latest autopsy report is the ruling that Wood's death may not have been an accident. Considering that Robert Wagner, her husband and Christopher Walken, her co-star on “Brainstorm,” were the only two people on the boat at the time of her death, Wagner’s account of the night is vital to the investigation, multiple news reports have indicated. Wagner reportedly is refusing to be interviewed by police who have reopened the investigation of the 30 year old cold case.
Earlier this week, the revised coroner reported changed the cause of Wood's death from “accidental” to “undetermined.” According to the released report there were, “conflicting statements as to when [Wood] went missing from the boat and whether there were verbal arguments between [her] and her husband.”
Police reopened the cold case in 2011 based on the conflicting testimony given by the ship’s captain, Dennis Davern. The revised autopsy report, conducted by Chief Medical Examiner Lakshmanan Sathyavagiswaran, was reportedly changed due to Davern admitting to lying to police during the initial investigation in 1981, as well as the questions surrounding the cuts and bruises on Wood's body that the coroner believes happened before Wood entered the water.
With the new investigation set to take place, and the questions surrounding the autopsy report, Wagner is back in the spotlight. The Associated Press reported that Wagner has refused to be interviewed in this new investigation.
According to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, Wagner is not a suspect at this time but it is still very early on in the investigation. At a press conference, Lieutenant John Carina said, in response to a reporter’s question, that Wagner was not a suspect, the New York Daily News reported. “We have several sources that have come forward with additional information, and as I said, we have found it credible enough to take another look at the case.”
The newspaper article said that Lt. Carina indicated that authorities planned to contact Wagner for an investigation, but he has declined to be interviewed. Walken and Davern reportedly have agreed to be interviewed by the authorities.
According to Wagner’s attorney, Blair Berk, the actor has cooperated with previous investigations and issued a statement saying, “Mr. Wagner has been interviewed on multiple occasions by the Los Angeles sheriff's department and answered every single question asked of him by detectives during those interviews.” According to Berk, Wagner has no new information to provide police, an AP article said.
The story of Wood's death is one of Hollywood’s greatest mysteries. Wood, Wagner and Walken were set on a weekend trip to Santa Catalina Island, off the coast of California. Wood's subsequent drowning death has stirred more speculation than answers. According to previous accounts of the incident, Wagner has said that Wood went to bed while he, Walken and the ship’s captain, Dennis Davern, continued to drink. After the boat was docked, and Wood was nowhere to be found, the trio told police that Wagner and Wood had a fight, but that soon quieted down and Wood went to the bedroom, the reports said. In addition, Wagner reportedly has suggested previously that Wood may have tried to tie a dinghy that was banging against the side of the boat, slipped and then drowned.
Charles Poladian joined IBTimes in October 2012 and, when not reporting on all things topical, can be found reading or photographing concerts.