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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, September 18, 2011

Natalie Wood's death: a convoluted case

One of the reasons Natalie's death information became so scattered is because many elements, or comparments, and PEOPLE, surfaced over the years that were right there from the very beginning. A thorough, INTITIAL investigation could have eliminated the "mystery" and convoluted information the case has grown into, but, as we all know, there was NOT a thorough investigation into Natalie's death. There were a few questions asked of the three surviving cruise participants and then an "accidental drowning" ruling from a coroner's office that was put under pressure to close the case fast.

The compartments of the case are:

1) The LA County Sheriff's Department: Rasure felt there was no need to investigate further than the three survivors and he bought their answers of "We don't know what happened" even after catching Dennis Davern is a contradictory statement about having spent Friday night in a motel room with Natalie in Avalon. He ignored the horribly messy master stateroom and shattered glass all over the main salon, calling it "rolling seas." He didn't check any of the cruise survivors for corresponding scratches or bruises. He did not issue a breatalyzer for any of them. He sent them home and dealt with their attorneys.

2) The medical examiner's office announced there had been an argument aboard the yacht, but was quickly contradicted by the LACSD. Noguchi went on to theorize -- He claimed there were scratches on the dinghy, Rasure says Noguchi fabricated the scratches. (Roger Smith saw scratches we later find out)
  a) Noguchi says Natalie's jacket weighed 50 lbs when wet (out of water) .. an exaggeration of more than 60% -- down jackets don't weigh 50 lbs out of water, nor do they drag a person down IN the water.
  b) Noguchi THEORIZED Natalie received her numerous bruises while trying to mount a float-away dinghy. If so, she could never have kept the socks on her feet.
 c) Noguchi THEORIZED there was a banging dinghy distrubing Natalie's sleep. She never went to sleep. She also didn't perform boat chores in the rain in the middle of the night. Nor did she ever go "star-gazing" in the dark ocean in the middle of the night (especially with a broken headlight on the dinghy...easily discovered IF questions had been asked.)
 d) Noguchi THEORIZED Natalie died around midnight. A PROFESSIONAL Coast Guard Captain (Roger Smith) tried to be vocal and let authorities know that he believed Natalie had drowned just shortly before being pulled from the ocean.

3) Roger Smith: tried to be vocal but was totally ignored. This Coast Guard Captain who cared about safety and TRUTH had wanted to let the detectives know that Wagner's PRIMARY concern when Smith showed up with the Avalon Sheriff was that his image not be affected. Wagner said, "I didn't call for help because I have an image to protect and didn't want publicity...I thought she (Natalie) was off somewhere partying on another boat because that's the kind of woman she is." The detectives never heard this information because they IGNORED Roger and the medical examiner's office.

4) Marilyn Wayne heard, along with two others, Natalie's cries for help from drowning. She was accused of wanting her fifteen minutes of fame by Detectuive Rasure...then and later on various documentaries. She CAME FORWARD and was totally ignored.

5) Lyndon Taylor sat next to the Wagner party at Doug's Harbor Reef Restaurant. He saw the bitterness and coldness in Wagner's eyes that night..he saw the anger mounting, the trouble brewing at the Wagner table.  He worried about them. He was never questioned and was moored only a football field away.

6) Paul Wintler, an Island worked, was the first to responed to the scene after Wagner's lame call, "Someone is missing" -- over TWO HOURS after Natalie was "missing." Wintler thought Wagner was overacting with screams of "Where is she, where is she?" as he took Wagner ashore. Why hadn't Wagner screamed "Where is she?" to Dennis? A few good detective questions could gotten to the bottom of that question, but Paul wasn't interviewed until Suzanne Finstad was writing a biograpghy 20 years later.

7) Harbormaster Doug Oudin should have called the Coast Guard immediately but deferred to Wagner. 

8) Pam Eaker: first to write a report for Detective Rasure. She reported (per Wagner's answer) that an immediate search started for Natalie. A makeshift search didn't start until 2:00 A.M. and a professional search not until close to 5:00 A.M. That's a far cry from "immediate." (NATALIE HAD BEEN MISSING SINCE SHORTLY AFTER 11:00 PM)

9) Doug Bombard. He was the "big help" -- he went searching for Natalie by boat, and said he'd watch over the Splendour when everyone left the scene. The LACSD did NOT secure the yacht properly. One of Bombard's waitresses (and her boyfriend) spent the night on the Splendour to help Bombard "watch over it" -- can that get any less professional?

10) Everyone bought "accident" -- WHO COULD HARM NATALIE? was the going speculation.

11) Christopher Walken was not forthcoming about the bottle smashing, nor about the true atmosphere of the weekend. He has told a few different stories throughout the long years.

12) Robert Wagner contradicted himself numerous times since the fateful cruise. His contradictions have been excused by authorities throughout the years.

13) Dennis Davern: the only eye and ear witness who is willing to cooperate with authorities...has been willing to cooperate for decades ...but falls into that list of those the authorities choose to ignore and continue to ignore.

14) It was a bungled investigation. No question about it. No one communicated...no one investigated ... no one interrogated.

FOUR of the above people have submitted their official statements to the authorities, along with our petition. Dennis, Marilyn, Roger, and Natalie's sister, Lana Wood, have all now asked, by written statement, that the authorities look into the convoluted mess Natalie's Wood's death scenario has become, all because they closed the case way too soon, way too fast.  Back in Novemebr 1981, it would've been so easy to determine that Natalie's Wood's husband was involved with Natalie Wood's death. To what degree was THEIR job to determine. A mother of two, a legendary actress, a beautiful person, was denied her due justice.  Her death was not a convoluted case: it was a rather simple one.

How sad and tragic, to this very day.


  1. Ms Eaker never verified that timeline. It is as if she thought she didn't need to. She was talking to someone on a popular tv series, so why was there any reason to doubt him...that's the impression I get.

    Smith and Davern both confirm that Wagner was more interested in protecting his image than in saving the life of his wife. It still amazes me that Wagner could make a statement like that in all seriousness.

    By the way, what was Wagner so worried about? He supposedly did not know what happened to Natalie, so what was all of the concern with his image? If she was on another boat socializing (like he told Smith he thought Natalie was doing), was that going to tarnish his image? He didn't know where his wife was or whether she was dead or alive, yet, he was worried about his image?

    On the other hand, if he already knew that Natalie was floating helplessly in the ocean(and most likely dead by that time), then I can understand his concern about his image. I CAN REALLY UNDERSATND HIS CONCERN ABOUT HIS IMAGE.

  2. Well put, Kevin. Why worry about an image if your wife accidentally fell off a boat? He KNEW Natalie would never have taken the dinghy so late at night, broken headlight or not (which it WAS broken)... He KNEW Natalie wasn't out on the rainy deck retying a dinghy, in ANY case.

    And by Wagner saying she was off partying because that's the kind of woman she is, well that's downright derogatory. When Roger told me that Wagner had said that, Roger said Wagner was insinuating pretty much what Lambert said in his book...that Natalie "swished her tail" and that's what he meant by "the kind of woman she is."

    It's all so repulsive.

    Pam Eaker didn't do her job. Rasure didn't do his. Salerno didn't do his, and Noguchi didn't do his. And lastly, the media failed big time, too in Natalie's case. (Hopefully, that's about to change.)

    There is never a need to protect your own image when a loved one is missing and in possible danger. NEVER!

  3. I seems that they all had their minds made up before they "investigated" the case. Rasure said that every death that is not of natural causes is a potential homicide. If that's the case, then the boat was a potential crime scene. Rather than secure it as a homicide detective would any crime scene, the made is accessible to anyone.

  4. Marti, I've watched just about every one of those Roddy McDowall home movies after you posted one of them. I didn't know they existed and I've enjoyed them immensely. They really are a window into a bygone era.
    In those movies, I don't see a "swished her tail" kind of Natalie...I really don't. I see a woman who appeared to be a happy person. She constantly mugs for the camera and she doesn't seem to have any kind of attitude about herself or the people she is in the company of. Granted, these don't really tell you that much, but they do show that Natalie seemed to be a very "UP" type of person.

  5. Same here, Kevin. From those clips one can see how much she enjoyed life, how much she liked to have a good time.

    The "liked to swish her tail" was the image that Lambert and Wagner wanted to put forth for the reader. IMO, it was a vulgar, tasteless thing to say.

  6. Kevin,
    Natalie definitely had "personality" - she was a very "up" person, with spunk and zest for life. She also liked to kick back on cruises and ease her mind by focusing on her needlework, but when there was a crowd on board, she liked to have a good time. She never "swished her tail" -- that sounds so sleazy and that was NOT Natalie. She always conducted herself with dignity, and Dennis says he will never meet anyone as professional and balanced as Natalie was. His words were, "She's definitely been around the block, but she learned well from any person or situation she ever came across." Natalie was a wise person , and full of fun . She was aware of her surroundings at all times, and she sensed the trouble brewing that weekend and that's why she left the boat on Friday night to escape the situation. She wanted to leave the Island Saturday morning, but that didn't work out. Her only mistake is that, although she realized her husband was angry and out of control, she never imagined exactly how far that anger could go. The answer to how far that anger could go was discovered in the ocean come Sunday morning.