Did Robert Wagner kill Natalie Wood? Here’s what we know about the actress’s drowning

It’s been almost 40 years since actress Natalie Wood was found drowned off the coast of Catalina Island. Her death, which was initially ruled an accident in 1981, is currently being reinvestigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. With new evidence, witness testimony, and timeline inconsistencies, investigators are now calling Robert Wagner, Wood’s husband at the time, a person of interest.

According to CBS’s 48 Hours,investigators are not ready to call Wood’s death a homicide. But Lieutenant John Corina told 48 Hours correspondent Erin Moriarty that her death is “suspicious enough to make us think that something happened.”

Wagner has refused to talk to investigators since Wood’s case was reopened in 2011. His original timeline of the events from the night Wood disappeared off their family yacht, the Splendour, has shifted over time. Corina believes Wagner has not told the entire story.

"I haven't seen him tell the details that match all the other witnesses in this case," Corina told Moriarty. "I think he's constantly changed his story a little bit. And his version of events just don't add up."

Corina also believes Wagner knows more about what happened to Wood than he has led on. That’s because Wagner was the last one to see his wife before she disappeared.


Captain of the Splendour, Dennis Davern, recalls hearing a fight between Wagner and Wood the night of her disappearance. Another couple who was boating nearby the Splendour also came forward since the reopening of the case with their recollection of the fight.

One of these new witnesses even said she saw the fight between Wagner and Wood from their boat.


Wagner has never been considered a suspect by investigators, and is still not technically a suspect in the case. But because he was the last person to see Wood alive, investigators are naming him a person of interest and would like to speak with him as soon as possible.

48 Hours’s special report Natalie Wood: Death in Dark Water, will air February 3rd at 10 p.m. EST on CBS.

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