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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.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Infamous Swim Step



On the night of Natalie Wood's death, the dinghy, Valiant, was tied and secured with TWO lines, and positioned to flush horizontally with the swim step authorities supposed she slipped on while tightening a banging dinghy. The theory is ABSURD for many reasons. If she fell from the swim step, she would've fallen into the dinghy the way it was positioned. If she was securing it from the swim step, it couldn't have floated away, as she couldn't untie two lines at once 12 ft. apart. If she were "securing a dinghy" it could have been accomplished from the deck of the Splendour because the dinghy was tied to two cleats at the TOP of the back wall. If she had stepped onto the swim step, she wouldn't have done it on a rainy night in her socks. And all of this easy enough information for the police to have figured out had they chosen to truly INVESTIGATE, might have led to them learning that Natalie first and foremost was scared to death of deep dark water and would have never put herself in a such a situation to fall into it. Furthermore, she had a skipper on deck who would've taken care of these kind of tasks. One right question by authorities might've led to discovering the truth about why there was glass shattered all over the main salon. "Rough seas" didn't break the wine bottle. Natalie's angry husband smashed it and accused her and Christopher Walken of having an affair. No, there was NOT a thorough investigation into Natalie's death. It is long overdue!

59 comments:

  1. I have a question for you, Marti, about the lines. Were the knots that Dennis tied nautical types of knots or were they knots that you or I could tie and untie, easily. I ask this because I cannot envision Natalie standing in the dark of night untying knots on the lines leading to the dinghy when there were 2 men available who performed these tasks repeatedly.

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  2. I hope this post puts an end to the dinghy speculation but I know better than that. It's amazing how many questions about the dingy that readers can come up with but the police not a one. That alone should scream negligence. On another note, how was your meeting with the important person? I'm not looking for a name or details, just if you were pleased with how it went.

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  3. P.S. I meant Marti's post, not the one above me. That one is actually an interesting question.

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  4. There are actually several type of nautical knots used and Dennis always used a particular type when tying the dinghy for the night (a more secure one than used in daytime). Actually, I had mentioned this fact in GNGS but I believe it was removed by the publishing house editor. I forget the name of the knot he used, but I'll ask. Natalie never made it to bed that night. No banging dinghy disturbed her sleep. I can't believe the detectives asked none of these type questions, to ANYONE, EVER!

    To answer how my meeting went, I'm am very happy with the results but there are more conversations coming in regards to it, and am looking forward to some real effort now into Natalie's case. And I will explain more as soon as I can. Thank you for asking.

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  5. Thanks for answering my question. That's a very important item that was overlooked by everyone. Let's be realistic, there is no way that Natalie would go down to the swim step, that alone is ridiculous, but then to imagine her untying a nautical knot in the dark? I don't think so.
    This knot was even more secure than a knot that Dennis would tie in the daytime to secure the dinghy, more difficult to untie with her perfectly manicured fingernails. Dennis made her tea for her in the evening but she would untie and retie nautical knots on her own from the swim step in the dark?

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  6. Brilliant!
    Yes! Oh Yes! Natalie Wood in her perfectly manicured and laquered MOVIE STAR to the N'th degree fingernails went out on the swim step to retie the dinghy in her socks on a cold rainy night when there were three men on the boat and two were capable of doing this job. Did she also scrub the deck and Windex the windows too? Hey Natalie you missed a barnacle over here...PLEASE!
    Lunacy! Sheer and utter lunacy and anyone that believes that story needs an old fashioned full frontal lobotomy just to make the world a safer place for the rest to live in.
    Don't you just hate it when people attempt to test your intelligence with this type of to absurd to be believed trash?

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  7. Great point about the nails. I was usually thinking about her feet: they claim she was on a wet swim step performing this task but not one single word EVER about shoes being missing or WHY she'd be in socks on a wet deck mentioned. Horrid investigation. Un-freaking-believable, disgraceful investigation!

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  8. Thank you to the poster that asked about how the ropes were tied. Such a simple question yet it shined a light on another aspect of the scenario that makes no sense. (They could have used you back in 1981. Rasure certainly wasn't on the case) Also, to the poster who played out the ridiculous scenario for us. Your humor and sarcasm should have put the final nail in dinghygate.

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  9. You may believe this or not but anyone who knew Natalie Wood personally as I did knew she wasn't what the press or her tiny stature or her film roles suggested. She was a fair, loving and generous lady but she was tough as nails. Whether she had one glass of wine or an entire bottle there is no way that woman was doing manual labor of any kind. She would laugh and say very bluntly it was one of the perks of stardom and she could afford to hire people to do it all for her. I'm sure Dennis can verify this statement.

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  10. I have read many interviews in which she made is very clear that she loved the boat because it put her with her family and occasionally friends.. She rarely fished, she never baited the hooks or cleaned the fish. Those jobs were left to RJ and Dennis.

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  11. Just as it states in GNGS, Dennis performed not just many but virtually all tasks for Natalie when she was on board, menial or large. He knew it was part of his job, and he was glad to do it for Natalie because he LIKED her. There was no resentment about having to perform what was expected of him. She EXPECTED tasks to be handled by Dennis and he simple went about doing them. I once asked Dennis how making her a cup of tea at night became a nighttime ritual and he told me Natalie had occasionally made it herself, then one night when she was tired, Dennis offered to make it, and she thanked him. She asked him to just leave it on the counter and she would return for it. After that night, Dennis would always ask Natalie if she was ready for her tea or he would simply make it because he knew she would come out of her stateroom for it after dressing for bed. That last cup of untouched tea sitting on the counter when Dennis went to retrieve Splendour a week after Natalie was tore him apart.

    In between the little and sometimes larger tasks, Natalie mostly treated Dennis as a friend and not as an employee.

    Correct: Natalie did NOT do manual labor. She NEVER retied the dinghy no matter what lies are told in other books such as she used to always adjust it when sunbathing. When that happened, she had asked Dennis to come up with a solution, which he did...he attached bumpers to the dinghy. I have a dinghy photo that shows the bumber attachments. I'll post it.

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  12. Marti, Did anyone from the coroner's office board the Splendour?

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  13. Kevin, no. Noguchi commissioned Paul Miller to figure out a marine report (because Paul Miller had been moored near the Splendour I suppose). Miller came up with the theory that the tides carried Natalie out to sea as she clung to the dinghy. Miller had the tide info all wrong, the weather wrong, well, you name it, he had it all wrong: he sat in an office and composed the report: he did NONE of the kind of tests Lyn Taylor and I did. Paul Miller later retracted his report, admitted it was "created" and admitted it was nothing but a guess, but yet it remains as the official theory to Natalie's case.
    Every aspect of Natalie's case has major flaws. Amazing, isn't it?

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  14. Wouldn't you have thought Noguchi should've asked ROger Smith, the COAST GUARD CAPTAIN and in charge of the Island, who KNEW his job?

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  15. I think it was the responsibility of the police to examine the boat and bring whatever they found to the attention of the coroner.

    Noguchi is an intelligent, gifted man, Why he would do such a stupid thing is beyond me. It seems that he wanted to create drama for his book, maybe to hide the truth? He had no idea how Natalie entered the ocean or how long she survived. I guess it would have taken too much time to investigate that, too many toes to be stepped on. ATROCIOUS!

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  16. It is amazing! How could Noguchi come up with the "dinghy theory" without checking out the Splendour and its dinghy? I thought someone from the coroner's office always investigated the scene of an "accidental" death; in Natalie's case, a very suspicious death.

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  17. and in the case of a death like Natalie's death, it is to be investigated as foul play until proven otherwise. All that was proven in Natalie's death was that she drowned.

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  18. and we can take this further. I don't believe that Natalie's fear of water was considered in the investigation. I doubt that anyone who spoke to the police volunteered that info. That was very relevant.

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  19. Is Paul Miller still alive? Is he willing to testify that his report was baseless? Surely a coroner's report based on false information is a legitimate reason for the case to be looked at again.

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  20. Anonymous 11:28, excellent point! I will add that point to the list ... it grows and grows, that's how convoluted this has all become for as simple as it is!

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  21. Miller is still alive, I believe. But, Deputy KNoll who was with Roger Smith when Wagner said Natalie was off "screwing around" is gone. Ironically, he drowned right where Natalie was found. He was on a diving manuever and something went terribly wrong. (Roger told me this).

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  22. In truth, Natalie Wood's death never was INVESTIGATED.

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  23. Very true, Kevinr.

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  24. Someone is on a site called the Morbidly Hollywood Death Forum which was mentioned in GNGS. They are making accusations about the publishing of GNGS and the authors. A few people have attempted to correct them,. Who ever the person is, is disgusting. This is libelous! It is not just rants and gossip. It is lies. LIES!

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  25. Why would she be on a wet deck in just socks anyways? Let's explore one of the many possibilities and the reason this case will never be solved.

    Natalie was boat savy because RJ taught her. She knew how to navagate the Splendour and the sloop. RJ said the last time he saw her she was fixing her hair at her vanity. Something prompted her to go straight away right up on deck, it must have been urgent enough for her to go in her socks, she new well enough about wearing deck shoes on a wet deck. The urgency was an arguement between RJ and Walken, she broke up the arguement RJ left and Walken went to his room. She knew the fighting was over her and had enough at this point she was preparing to leave the boat. While her feet were already soaked and before she would get dressed to leave she went to the sloop and began to prepare it for departure (remember Dennis said after the deck arguement he heard ropes being fooled with) she untied the sloop ropes on top holding on to one rope she went down to tie them to the outside cleats so she could board and depart when a wave caught the sloop pulling on the rope causing her to loose her balance and fall in the water, also this explains the face abrasion, it was from the rope. Mix this all up with the cosideration she was very drunk and it fits. I have many more feasable possibilites I would like to share, I hope Miss Rulli would be open to them

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  26. RJ lied about seeing her in front of the mirror. He made that up for his book to cover up the truth about how he was able to tell the police about the color of her nightgown. In 28 years he never mentioned that and all of a sudden, he saw her in front of the mirror doing her hair? LMAO
    Natalie would never have left the boat in the darkness of night nor would she have left in a nightgown. That's as ridiculous as the theory about re-tying the lines.

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  27. anon. 9:18AM is the same troll who has posted in the past. His spelling issues "speak volumes".
    Ignore him.

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  28. Marti, I know that you don't want to get involved in tabloid sites like the Death Forum but there is a post about you on that forum that is libelous. It amazes me that these Wagner trolls will stoop to the level of libel to protect him.

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  29. I have a feasible possibility, also. RJ yelled at her, and waved his hand in front of her as he told her to get the fuck off his boat, she moved to avoid him and fell. He left her there to die and lied like a rug to cover it up.

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  30. I don't care whoo the person is. They are telling outright lies about the publishing of this book. If the owner of the site is contacted and the post is deleted, in my opinion that is the same as admitting they are right! FIGHT BACK! Isn't it time we all took a stand against these liars? As for Marti not getting involved with these sites, I'm sorry but she is involved because she gave mention to the site in the originally published book!

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  31. I disagree with the deletion of the post. If I were Marti, I would have the post deleted as it makes suggestions about her and her book that are simply not true. She needn't post on that site as she has her blog to vent her response to the crap that is being spread about her and the circumstances of the publication of her book. I would have the post deleted, make a comment here and go on with the plans for the promotion of the book.

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  32. It's been brought to my attention that libelous comments about GNGS have been made at other sites on the Internet. I have contacted the owner of one forum in particular and have asked to have the comments removed as they are detrimental to the business end of GNGS, and I have asked for IP's and I will not tolerate lies being told about GNGS business.



    Here are the facts about GNGS publishing status. The authors have not "self-published" GNGS. We published traditionally, meaning the manuscript was PURCHASED with a contract. GNGS is NOT any liability to the authors. GNGS has been taken on by two established publishers who financed every aspect of the publishing, including author advances and royalties. GNGS was purchased by Phoenix Books in 2009, a publishing company that closed in 2010 because its publishing president passed away (Michael Viner). Phoenix will not be printing any further books in the near future and are selling what remains of the hardcover and audio of GNGS.



    At this time GNGS is in and out of the top 100 book in three different categories including the true crime genre.



    There is someone claiming that the authors of GNGS are in debt to it and that "our people" have have to finance GNGS. Nothing could be further from the truth and I will have the outlandish statements trying to diminish the value of GNGS investigated if they continue. I would NEVER have self-published a work of this importance.



    In fact, there is interest in GNGS for a movie, and it is already established to be represented in NY on Broadway in Feb 2011 (more info to come on this). The person who is trying to destroy GNGS over the Internet will not get away with such a deliberate attempt to minimize the value of this work.



    GNGS is selling large format paperback, and in over 10 different electronic version, including Nook and Kindle. The ranking is doing very well for just being released and many new readers are contacting me daily who also want justice for Natalie.

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  33. I agree, fight this crap. This person makes so many stupid statements, so many lies. Also, anyone with a brain in their head will KNOW that the BS that he told is not true. Book publishing does not work in that manner. I would, however, contact Frank Wilkins as he is a supporter of Marti and the book. No sweat, Marti!

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  34. The scenario here of Wagner and Walken fighting is thisclose to deletion as I've stated over and over I will only deal with FACTS at this blog. Wagner and Walken did not fight: after the bottle smashing Walkend went to his cabin and stayed there the entire night. I'm not into "scenarios" -- I KNOW WHAT HAPPENED. We deal with that or nothing here. The ONLY thing we don't know is exactly HOW how Natalie went into the water. We know it was only Wagner and her on the back deck.

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  35. Furthermore, Natalie was NOT "boat savvy" -- she NEVER PERFROMED BOAT TASKS AND LEFT MOST ALL OF THOSE TASKS UP TO DENNIS. She stayed in her perch in the wheelhouse with Dennis until they would moor and she participated on the yacht in a social manner only. That is a FACT.

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  36. This is so irritating. If we ignore these posters they may go away but then Marti would have false information posted at her blog. If we answer them they get excited that we have engaged with them and keep posting garbage. We're damned if we do and damned if we don't. People whine about how opposing opinions aren't welcome here but every time we open the door the sludge rolls in. Don't know what the answer is.

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  37. In the first marriage she was taught the essentials about boating. She was taught how to operate the boat in an emergency. The boat she was taught on was a small Chris Craft, half the size of the Splendour. There are pics of Natalie at the helm of the Splendour but PLEASE, do any of us actually believe that she took the wheel and controlled the Splendour while RJ and Dennis sat and soaked up the sun?
    Natalie loved The Splendour for the social activities, the relaxation and that she and her family were able to get away from it all. She also loved The Splendour because it meant so much to RJ as he loved that life, he was into the sea and fishing and the boat gave him a way to un-wind and be with his family.

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  38. It really dosen't matter if Natalie knew how to operate the Splendour or not. She was not involved in anyhting to do with the boat or the dinghy at the time she entered the ocean--which lead to her death from drowning.

    Ms Wood was having a full-blown argument with Mr Wagner on the back of the Splendour--just outside their stateroom.

    Through Wagner's actions--specifically, covering up the fact that Ms Wood was in the water (by releasing the dinghy and making it appear that Natalie had left the Splendour)--he prevented anyone else from going to her rescue.

    It is when he released the dinghy that he sealed Natalie's fate.

    I think Dennis would have done something had the dinghy been there and Natalie was missing.

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  39. That's a good point, Kevin. It was the missing dinghy that gave Dennis pause about Natalie's whereabouts, even though he knew it didn't make sense. If the dinghy was still there, Dennis could have come to no other conclusion than Natalie being in the water. Also proves once again, that drinking or not, Wagner had his wits about him.

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  40. but the point is that she would not gone tooting off in a dinghy at night, wearing a nightgown. If she intended to leave the boat she would have changed into her clothes. I don't care if she was capable of navigating the Queen Mary during a hurricane, there was no way that she would take off in the dinghy at night or even go down to the swim step to untie-retie lines, messing with nautical lines while the skipper sat in the main stateroom. PLEASE!

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  41. Wagner releasing the dinghy is a premeditated action.

    At the very least, Dennis would/could have called for help a lot earlier--while Natalie was still alive, and floating helplessly in the water.

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  42. Of course not, that is all common sense. We're just saying that had the dinghy not been released, Dennis only option would be to surmise she was in the water.

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  43. the dinghy being released was indeed something that Wagner planned in an effort to make it look like she took off. His first priority was to convince Dennis or Walken, if he had come out of his cabin, that Natalie left and the dinghy being gone was his "proof" of that. He manipulated Dennis. If the dinghy had been there, how would he have explained her absence to Dennis? Dennis was his test to see just how he was going to explain this.
    I recall that in Lambert's book, Wagner said that the dinghy was tied, port? He could not say that to Dennis because Dennis was the person who tied the dinghy, stern. That is just one of Wagner's inconsistencies over the years, another lie.

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  44. Jocko is up to his old tricks...he/she's just an old crow wagnerfyte with little if any grasp of reality. You simply can not argue with these people any more than you can argue with a child. Everyone recognizes his bullshit rants and know to dismiss him as a nutjob.

    Where's Creed when ya need him?

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  45. Yes, in Lambert's book Wagner said the dinghy was tied port (possibly said in his book, too) but it was tied at the rear of the Splendour. Odd thing is, there is no swim step PORT, so how can he say the dinghy was tied port and support his "she was on the swim step " theory? The ONLY way to adjust the dinghy PORT is from the deck. He likes to keep it confusing. He's full of lies.
    Dennis didn't believe Natalie was in the dinghy and suspected Wagner of lying, but Wagner was so convincing that Dennis figured maybe the fighting got to her enough to go ashore. Dennis wanted to call the Island immediately but Wagner kept saying, "Let's wait and she if she comes back. She'll be back soon." Dennis WAS manipulated.

    Some people have asked, why didn't Dennis overpower Wagner? That's easy to ask in hindsight. Dennis did not realize the dire need to overpower Wagner. Dennis trusted and believed his employer/friend. When Natalie didn't return soon, Dennis insisted on making a call (there was no other option with the missing dinghy as Dennis couln't go looking for Natalie with no boat to use.) Dennis tried to convince Wagner to use the Splendour to look for her...ANYTHING to be looking for her, then Wagner agreed to make the call around 1:30 AM. A few Island people got involved and it was Doug Oudin, the Harbormaster, who insisted around 3:30 AM that the Coast Guard must be called.

    People who choose to believe these are sensible actions of a non-guilty man are fooling themselves.

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  46. I love his or her scenario. I just have one question, where the heck was Natalie going to go?

    I think it is funny how
    ridiculous that explanation sounds. You can't really believe that, can you?

    You say she was preparing to leave...where? There was nowhere for her to go at that time of night.

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  47. Why would Dennis not believe RJ at that point? I'm sure it did not enter his mind that RJ was responsible for Natalie's absence from the Splendour. If I were Dennis I would become suspicious when RJ began to talk about his image being protected and began coaxing him on what to say and what not to say. That's the point at which I would ask what the hell is going on. In hindsight, his refusal to turn on the lights was a big red flag. Why? His wife who is petrified of deep, dark water is missing from a boat at night with no notification to anyone and her husband does not want to turn on every light available and began looking for her immediately? Sorry folks, it did not make sense 29 years ago and it does not make sense now.

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  48. Wagner thought time would be on his side. I think he thought he could manipulate facts whichever way he wanted; he figured that enough time had passed and people would forget the real facts. He didn't consider Marti. He didn't consider the internet.

    When Natalie drowned, Wagner never considered something like the internet (how could he have), and how it would keep Natalie's story alive.

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  49. also, his wife was not a swimmer, there should have been some panic at that point. Not once did RJ wonder aloud to Dennis, "where is she, where could she be?" I asked this question of Marti in a private e-mail very early on. She asked Dennis and Dennis said that RJ never wondered aloud where his wife was.

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  50. Wagner, to my knowledge, has not refuted one word Dennis and Marti have printed in GNGS.

    Dennis is not just another tabloid story--he was Wagner's employee.

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  51. Too bad the LACSD doesn't read this blog. Not only would they have ample reasons to reopen the case, but they wouldn't look like such buffoons when it lands on their doorstep. Don't bother to cover up boys, it's already been done. Just search your department for someone with moral fiber and integrity and let's get this case reopened.

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  52. Didn't you all know, the star who never stepped out of her front door without looking every bit the super star that she was right down to her CUFF BRACELET decided to go "screwing around" in the cold, wet night on a dinghy in her most gorgeous YSL creation to date. A nightgown, socks and jacket. What is wrong with you people? Didn't she do this all the time? Wasn't everyone on all the other boats waiting for her? Party! Party!
    I can't believe people actually bought Wagner's bull shit!

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  53. Most of us know better, it's the Wagner trolls who contrive these ridiculous stories in an attempt to polish Wagner's shoes. IMO, these lame tales are as asinine as Wagner's own tale about his wife re-tying lines and moving a dinghy in the dark of night, digging her manicured, polished nails into a knot in an attempt to untie it rather an paging Dennis or calling for Dennis to do it. This was a woman who worked all of her life and was well set financially, She could afford to have people do things for her such as untying nautical lines and moving water vessels.

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  54. A serious question in parts.
    Do you all think:
    The authorities were really lax in handling this case?
    The authorities were so star struck by a third rate TV celebrity they had stardust in their eyes?
    Wagner greased a few palms and kissed a few asses and that is why he is free and clear?

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  55. I vote yes on all 3 questions.

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  56. I wonder if he had to pay anyone off? Rasure appeared to be taken in by Wagner right from the start. Also, it seemed like Noguchi wanted to wrap it up as quickly as possible.
    The first two I agree with 100%.

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  57. I think it went beyond the police and coroner. I believe that Bombard was in on the cover up.
    I believe that Wagner may have made a few "donations".
    Rasure was totally starstruck. I recall that he said his wife was a big Natalie fan. She probably told her husband, "oh, he loved her so much." It seemed that his mind was made up very early on. The entire investigation and it's conclusion were based on lies and supposition. They know that, now and what does Rasure say? He tells a ridiculous story that HE fabricated. MORE LIES and no one wants to touch it.

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  58. If Natalie's death had taken place anywhere else, we probably wouldn't be having these conversations. Rasure cried that he was shorthanded (Let's wrap this up quick), the coroner could have done a good job but let his showboating get in the way, the harbor masters wanted to protect Catalina's image (For God's sake let's not dig deeper) Roger Smith's bosses caved to pressure, Marilyn was the squeaky wheel that needed to be discredited, and we all know what Wagner was protecting. All things converged to favor Wagner's story. Natalie became a double victim that night, once at the hand of her "loving husband" and the second time to the self-interest of the other players in this farce.

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  59. Has there ever been a Hollywood scandal that was wrapped up to everyones satisfaction? I can't think of a single one. But as long as there has been a "Hollywood" there have been scandals and death. If this is ever resolved I'll be shocked and happily surprised.

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