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.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Natalie Wood's Reopened Case: A Year's Review

It was a year ago tonight I was rushed off to New York to open the Today Show the next morning with Dennis Davern and then to answer questions for the next 36 hours in various interviews (with no sleep) regarding the reopening of the Natalie Wood case. Today is a year since the night the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department released its announcement that the 30-year old Wood case would officially be reopened. Their news conference followed the next day while a media frenzy ensued. No one was more enthused than I was over the possibility, the opportunity, for Natalie Wood to finally get what she deserved: a thorough investigation. ....................................................................................................................................................................................... Through the years as I pursued the case, many peripheral “experts” had suggested my efforts for Natalie were in vain. Maybe on my part it was naivety causing me to always turn a deaf ear to the unconvinced, but my basic sense of the meaning of justice prevailed. Maybe it was pure stubbornness. In any case, close to three decades of trying finally brought the amazing day of November 17, 2011 to an outcome Natalie deserved since November 29, 1981 when she was found floating facedown in a Catalina Island cove. Many pundits became as equally enthused as I was on November 17th last year, but that’s not to say there was no obstinacy from the get-go. ................................................................................................................................................................................................ Interest in Natalie’s case faded fast by January 2012 upon a heedless comment released by LASD spokesperson, Steve Whitmore, who publicly suggested the Wood case status had been based upon a book publicity stunt. Whitmore’s statement made no sense whatsoever. Why would a financially-struggling sheriff’s department reopen a high profile closed case in cahoots with a publishing company and/or its authors? It was obvious Whitmore's statement was some sort of maneuver, and the lead detectives on the case were not associated, nor impressed with him. Valid evidence existed, and it was enough to bring the sheriff to order a reexamination of Natalie's case. And further, the book, my book, at the forefront of Whitmore’s insulting comment, had been published two years before the decision to reopen the case. I had put in a lot of work post GNGS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ................................................................................................................................... Uninformed media comments were exasperating to hear and read about while I remained completely confident about what was really transpiring within the LASD: a true investigation for Natalie Wood. The Whitmore fiasco, however, seemed to become the prevailing consensus of the Wood case status. Despite LASD Chief of Detectives, William McSweeney, having retracted Whitmore’s comment within days, and claiming the case would remain open, media and public perception changed. For those who believed the case reopening had been contrived and all but closed again, they were in for a stunning surprise come July 2012 when news leaked that Natalie’s death certificate was to be officially changed from accidental to undetermined by the authority of the L.A. Medical Examiner’s office. I gave a brief interview on July 7, 2012 for Good Morning America and stated the death certificate change was huge for the Wood investigation. I also interviewed with FishbowlLA, but that was the extent of my media participation on the matter of the death certificate change. Renewed interest continued into September 2012 when 48 Hours repeated part of their interview with Dennis Davern that had aired in November 2011. This month of November marks the 31st anniversary of Natalie’s death and all is quiet. Other authors who’ve previously written about Natalie’s demise, then moved on to other ventures, usually resurface when news about Natalie’s case is released. Yet, the truest experts on the Wood case these days are the new detectives assigned to the case. I've met them. They are mission-minded. ...................................................................................................................................................................................................... Upon hearing that Natalie’s case was no longer labeled accidental, many consultants finally caught on and started saying, “there must be something to this.” Well, yes, of course, there is “something to this!” Natalie’s case reopening was and is based on a serious effort to understand what went wrong that long-ago, fateful weekend. ...................................................................................................................................................................................................... Since the Wood case reopened, several developments have been reported, and most of the reports are true if not confirmed. New witnesses have come forward. The Wagner family has not been as cooperative as their initial statement suggested they would be. The statement Robert Wagner’s spokesperson released immediately following the LASD press conference last year turned out to be a thinly-veiled criticism of Dennis Davern and our book, and little else. Spokesman, Alan Nierob, had claimed: "They (Wagner family) fully support the efforts of the L.A. County Sheriff's Dept. and trust they will evaluate whether any new information relating to the death of Natalie Wood Wagner is valid, and that it comes from a credible source or sources other than those simply trying to profit from the 30 year anniversary of her tragic death." Natalie’s only family member known thus far to welcome the new investigation is Natalie’s sister, Lana Wood, but Lana was not present the night her sister died. Robert Wagner was. For all the years he has claimed to not know how his late wife died, one would think he would offer all the knowledge he could about the tragic night in question. He has tapped his recall and memory to write two books now, one on the market and one in the wings, yet has contributed nothing beyond his statement to the investigation he claimed to “fully support?” ..................................................................................................................................................................................................... Dennis Davern has volunteered his support and assistance by cooperating with authorities this entire past year, whenever called upon. Although it was not supposed to be revealed publicly, a private citizen had filmed Dennis as he boarded the Splendour with case detectives in Honolulu this past summer, and 48 Hours Mystery used the footage on their September 2012 repeat of an interview with Dennis from last year. Dennis had traveled to Hawaii to support Natalie’s case, to offer all he possibly could, to show he was willing to “relive” the long-ago tragic night in an effort to recall anything he may have missed. Dennis has defined the true meaning of the words cooperation and support. .................................................................................................................................................................................................... The information I’ve mentioned in this summary thus far is nothing that hasn’t already been suggested and reported throughout this past year, although most of the reports gathered little attention, as if Natalie’s death-review is something that was meant to go away again. It will never go away until answers are provided, but the LASD is not obligated to answer to anyone but Natalie’s immediate family. Since the only person within Natalie’s family interested in answers is Lana Wood, she may be the only person to learn about the many things the public will be deprived of unless there is a major breakthrough in the case. ..................................................................................................................................................................................................... Yet to be explained is the answer to why Natalie’s death certificate was changed a few months ago. The change is a major development in the case, although it may seem like a small feat for an entire year’s work. There is nothing small, however, about eliminating the word “accidental” from Natalie’s death certificate. Natalie’s bruises should have been thoroughly investigated from the start, as all of the previous theories such as “clinging to a dinghy” or “bumping against rocks” have obviously been deemed unlikely. After much research and studying Natalie’s autopsy report, I explained in Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour (with the help of Dr. Lyndon Taylor), Natalie’s bruises appeared to be of classic domestic violence nature. The bruises on the backs of her legs appear to be combat bruising. The small circular bruises at her ankles appear to be fingerprints. The scratch at her neck and the numerous other bruising indicates a possible altercation. There were over two dozen bruises on Natalie's body when she was pulled from the ocean: bruises not logically accounted for in 1981. A large four-inch bruise on Natalie’s arm reeks of a defensive wound. Her facial abrasion had to derive from a semi-rough surface, such as a rug, or a deck recently coated with non-skid? My research led me to believe Natalie’s bruises occurred while still aboard her yacht, and it’s apparent the new medical examiner agrees her bruises are of a suspicious nature – enough to change a death certificate. And what also comes into question within this new investigation is Natalie’s time of death. I suppose the new medical examiner has a strong professional opinion concerning Natalie’s estimated time of death, which had not been explored previously. Natalie deserved this new, professional evaluation. The authorities are much more knowledge now concerning Natalie's mystery death. Although Natalie’s death is now officially labeled undetermined, which is a huge step in the process, there is more information to be determined. A 30-year old case full of speculation, lies, and deceit is not solved overnight. This lingering mystery case is still being investigated. Yes, there's "something to this." Otherwise, this case would have been filed closed again. It remains open. ...................................................................................................................................................................................................... For now, the most important thing is that Natalie is getting what she long ago and always deserved: a dedicated, thorough investigation, and I for one, am willing to be patient awaiting the final results. I had pleaded with the initial investigators on Natalie’s case to take another look at the details, and when they refused, I released Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour in an effort to bring attention to Natalie’s quickly closed case. When my book failed to arouse official interest, I spent the next two years condensing the vital information I had gathered and then provided it to the LASD along with a petition through the attorney who had started the petition. Within a month, Natalie’s case was reopened, and officially announced one year ago today. The case has come a long way, and is still open, and being worked. The LASD, as far as I know, is still interested in solving the mystery of Natalie Wood’s death.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post a Comment