Welcome To My Book Blog

A place to update and discuss facts surrounding the controversial, tragic death of legendary Hollywood film actress, wife and mother, Natalie Wood who drowned mysteriously Nov. 29, 1981 off Catalina Island. Thank you for visiting.

Monday, May 17, 2010


For those who claim there is not enough evidence to re-open the Wood case, here's a list of 28 reasons why this case should be reviewed again. This is a list of all the things completely missed within the initial investgation that lasted only days.

In Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour I present a polygraphed account of the only witness who saw and heard the circumstances leading to Natalie no longer being on the yacht. If it insinuates foul-play than that's what it does, but I am NOT accusing anyone of anything other than the fact that the authorities did not handle this case with any exterior thinking, any real look at evidence (which there is PLENTY of) or with the possibility -- just the POSSIBILITY -- that something was very wrong with this particular death scene.

I do not believe that authorities had looked for every possible explanation to support “accident” or otherwise. I believe they wrapped this up as fast as they could so they wouldn't have to answer to the media. Everyone immediately accepted Natalie’s death as accidental because it was incomprehensible to believe otherwise. Natalie and R.J. were considered the perfect Hollywood couple. They were gentle. They were happy. No inconsistency in that everlasting love of R.J.’s and Natalie’s had ever been publicly proclaimed after their second marriage. No one knew or even suspected trouble in their paradise, save a few of Natalie’s closest confidants. Therefore, how could Natalie Wood’s untimely death have been anything but accidental? Even detectives can make mistakes.

But this was the mistake in thinking that everyone made. Natalie’s death scene was far more indicative of foul play than of accident, but the mainstream media that had always offered us the wisdom and endurance of R.J.’s and Natalie’s love could only remain impartial.

The investigation into Natalie Wood’s death was botched in part because we had all been previously impressed with something far too good to be so suddenly false. There was utter disorder in the attempt to reach a logical explanation in the days following Natalie’s death. No one seemed driven to get to the bottom of this incomprehensible death. It was easier to let Natalie “rest in peace.” In the long run, this strategy backfired. Everyone was to blame.

My involvement with Dennis Davern and my acquired knowledge leads me to believe that Natalie Wood’s death was completely preventable and is the result of an argument that led to her ending up in the ocean: how she got into the water is what officials should pursue. 


1. A Friday night argument that separated a husband and a wife. The wife slept with her boat captain in a motel because of a fight, not because of rough seas. She called friends and relatives Saturday morning and mentioned the trouble. Not one of those call recipiants reported Natalie's troubles.

2. A “banging dinghy theory” propagated by the surviving husband is questionable in view of the fact the dinghy had been tied with two lines at the stern.

3. Wagner has lied, claiming the dinghy was tied port.

4. The dinghy lines are adjustable from Splendour’s deck.

5. The bottle smashing occurred within fifteen minutes after the Wagner party returned from a dinner. There was tension over dinner. Wagner has admitted smashing the wine bottle in an angry rage. He and Davern allowed the detectives to believe rough seas broke the bottle.

6. Wagner joined Natalie in their stateroom within minutes after his bottle smashing and was with her until she left the yacht.

7. Natalie had not taken her sleeping pill, thus had probably not retired to bed yet, thus a banging dinghy was not disturbing her sleep.

8. A terribly loud and revengeful fight took place in the master stateroom. Davern heard things being tossed around and hitting the walls. The fight carried out to the back deck. Dennis saw and heard Wagner and Wood on the deck, arguing.

9. Davern turned on music to muffle the fight. At this point, Marilyn Wayne and John Payne heard a woman’s cries for help from drowning.

10. Marilyn Wayne called for help. The Harbor Patrol did not answer. This is supported by the fact that Doug Bombard had to drive to the harbormaster’s house to inform him of trouble later that night. The cries started at approximately five minutes after eleven. Marilyn Wayne heard the cries for approximately twenty minutes. This is the exact time span that Davern was playing music.

11. Marilyn Wayne heard a man's voice respond to the cries for help. This indicates that someone knew the woman crying for help was in danger. Marilyn Wayne was completely ignored by detectives. She was immediately labeled as a woman who "wanted her name in the papers" and the detective interviewed waitresses but not the woman who most likely heard Natalie's last calls for help.

12. It stands to reason that the cries for help came from Natalie Wood. It stands to reason that the man’s voice answering her could have been Wagner’s voice. He had been on the deck with her when she went missing.

13. Natalie’s socks could not have remained on her feet had she clung to a dinghy and tried to mount it. It is unlikely Natalie was with the dinghy for long if at all. Drift tests and other circumstantial evidence support this.

14. Dr. Lyndon Taylor’s drift tests prove that Natalie and the dinghy, as free-floating objects, would end up exactly where each was found the morning of November 29, 1981.

15. Natalie was found in nightgown and coat. This apparel combination is too unconventional to suggest she was attempting to leave the yacht with nowhere on the island to go.

16. At what point in a full-blown argument would Natalie likely have donned her jacket? Would she put on a jacket and not shoes or underwear to leave a yacht? She would not have needed her coat for any of the theories thus far presented. The dinghy’s headlight was out. She would have needed someone to hold a flashlight to serve as a headlight if she were going to take the dinghy out. The broken headlight was never investigated.

17. Down coats float. Down coats do not weigh a person down in water. Down jackets weigh less than half the weight out of water as reported by the medical examiner’s office.

18. Wagner told harbormaster Doug Oudin in the middle of the night that Natalie was wearing her nightgown when she went missing. Weeks later, Wagner said he did not think about the banging dinghy possibility until he learned, after Natalie’s body was found, that Natalie was in her nightgown. But Wagner knew Natalie was wearing only her nightgown on deck. This makes the coat factor all the more suspicious. Wagner later claims in his autobiography that he had seen his wife in her nightgown while she brushed her hair. Which is it?

19. Wagner wanted off the island fast. He immediately secured attorneys. He gave Rasure a hard time for scheduling a second interview. He lied in both interviews. There was not one mention of smashing a wine bottle in anger during his two interviews with Rasure. But he had no qualms telling Lambert that he, indeed, had smashed the bottle, and he changed the details of the bottle-smashing for his own autobiography. Walken, Davern, and Wood witnessed the bottle-smashing.

20. A trashed stateroom, with Natalie’s jewelry found on the floor are supporting evidence of the stateroom fight Davern overheard.

21. Wagner admits to author Gavin Lambert that he was upset and jealous during the cruise of November 1981. In his own book, he calls Walken a "gentleman" -- which is it?

22. Wagner told Dennis he did not want to search for his wife because he needed to protect his reputation. He deliberately stalled a search. He refused to allow Davern to search for Natalie.

23. After Natalie went missing, Wagner drank alcohol with Davern. Wagner admits this over 20 years later.

24. Wagner refused to identify his wife’s body. This eliminated the opportunity for any person present to be able to witness Wagner’s reaction to Natalie’s bruises.

25. Natalie’s body was filled with bruises that could not have been caused by one quick fall from a boat or by mounting a dinghy. The small circular bruises at her ankles definitely show a pattern.

26. The four-hour delay in calling for professional help is a gigantic RED FLAG. It was reported in Finstad’s biography that Wagner sent a waitress into the ladies’ room at Doug’s Harbor Reef to check on Natalie when she was gone for over ten minutes. Natalie is missing from a boat, and he waits two hours to call for low key help? Then Wagner waited an additional two hours before allowing the Coast Guard to be called? This delay to call for help is inexcusable. It is unacceptable in boating law.

27. A timeline that fits every part of the only witness's account: Davern’s.

28. The Coast Guard Lieutenant, Roger Smith, who recovered Natalie's body tried to be vocal about his theory of Natalie's lifespan in water, but instead of being interviewed when he offered his professional opinion, he was demoted with a pay-cut and transferred off the island. The people closest to the actual timeline of when Natalie was in the water (Wayne, Payne and Roger Smith) were completely ignored by Detective Rasure.

Dennis Davern has said Natalie’s body looked as if it had been removed from a boxing ring rather than from an ocean. The least logical explanation offered for her bruises had been produced—no more than a theory—one not remotely resembling the truest details the immediate scene of this dead, famous woman offered.


  1. Marti, On top of everything you wrote here--including Wagner not wanting to view his dead wife's body-- he also wasn't going to attend her funeral...he changed his mind on the advise of his attorney. Also, he distanced himself from Natalie's family, and he wouldn't let his children see their aunt Lana. I don't think he attended Mrs Gurdin's funeral.
    In his own book, "Pieces of My Heart" he writes that he thought he bought two graves when Natalie died??? It turns out he only bought one, so he will not be buried with the "love of his life." Let's not forget that he left Natalie's name off of the dedication page of his book. Natalie Wood was the mother of his daughter, Courtney.
    These seem to be the actions of a man with a guilty conscience.

  2. I agree, Kevin. You don't eliminate "the love of your life" in a dedication, especially after raising her daughter and your own daughter together, and no matter how many times you've remarried (in his case only once) if the death had truly been pure accident. Makes no sense, as little does in this case.

  3. This is chilling Marti, you just condensed for the first time a coherent list of all the facts that you chronicled in GNGS, and the strangest part is NO ONE HAS BEEN ABLE TO REFUTE ONE SINGLE ITEM. This just pisses me off all over again. How long do we have to look upon these crucial elements before someone in authority has the balls to step in to the light and start doing some investigating?!?! This is such an embarrasment for the Sheriffs Dept. but C'mon? is that enough of a reason for them to continue to bury their heads in the sand????

    Marti, I have a question: Has anyone,to your knowledge, ever contacted the LACSD and demanded an acounting of any of this? And if not...maybe someone should.

  4. Oddly enough Creed, I had this list included in the book (except about Roger Smith, info I learned after). The editors cut it, claiming it was all in the book and that there was no need to summarize it. Apparently, there was.
    But I'm already criticized for repetition, but I agree, these FACTS bear repeating over and over until SOMEONE in authority will do something. There have been a few set backs, but all of this information WILL be given to the LACSD...SOON!

  5. We now live in a very different world. Googling has become a near daily activity for most people and Googling either Natalie Wood or Robert Wagner brings a litany of listings that call into question the facts of the night Natalie lost her life, I don't think that any of this is at all below the radar of the LACSD...They know what's out there. I can believe that Wagner and Walken have chosen to be very selective (I'm being kind) about what they release publically but I can't see the overseeing investigative authority being able to muzzle themselves especially in light of all the new evidence and revelations that you, Davern and in fact Wagner have provided in the last couple of years. This case almost solves itself. Seems a bit odd that someone of authority hasn't been compelled to look into this already.

  6. Kevin, Robert Wagner did not buy any plots at Westwood. That's one of the many lies he told in his book. Natalie bought those plots years before she and Wagner re-untied. There was more than two. Wagner SOLD the surrounding plots to Neile McQueen Toffel. Her late husband Alvin Toffel is buried in one of those plots and her daughter Terry is buried in another. Neile bought the plots from Wagner. Neile and Alvin were in the horse breeding business at the same time that RJ and Jill were involved in breeding. When Terry was ill Neile asked RJ if he would consider selling the plots to her. He sold three to her. Neile will be buried there, also. There was another plot on the other side of Natalie. Her dear friend Howard Jeffrey is buried there. This is another example of how he lies to polish his armor.

  7. Wagner couldn't bear the thoughts of being buried next to the woman whose death he claims in his book to be responsible for. He was haunted by the thoughts of having to lay his body next to hers eternally, but it might've been nice had he spared though gravesites for other members of her family.

  8. This is an excellent post Marti. I agree that this list should have been in your book. I do not recall #14, Dr. Lyndon's drift test, from your book. I always thought that the drift currents was the more probable explanation why Natalie and the dinghy were found close together. It is nice to know it has been investigated.