It’s one of Hollywood’s most tragic mysteries: what happened to Natalie Wood on the night of November 28, 1981? The beloved actress drowned off the coast of California’s Catalina Island after an ocean outing with her husband Robert Wagner and her “Brainstorm” co-star Christopher Walken. The next morning, she was found nearly a mile away from the yacht “Splendour,” though the circumstances of her death have long remained strange and unanswered.
Four decades on, a new “48 Hours” special, titled “Natalie Wood: Death in Dark Water,” appears to offer up still more questions. CBS reports that Los Angeles County Sheriff’s investigators have told the televised news magazine that Wagner is now a person of interest and, further, “investigators want to speak with Wagner about the circumstances surrounding her death.” The new special includes interviews with new witnesses, plus supposedly new evidence and new theories as to what really happened on the Splendour.
“As we’ve investigated the case over the last six years, I think he’s more of a person of interest now,” Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Lieutenant John Corina said in an interview with “48 Hours” correspondent Erin Moriarty. “I mean, we know now that he was the last person to be with Natalie before she disappeared.”
Wood’s death was the subject of an initial two-week investigation, which later ruled that the death was an accident. Yet, thirty years later, in 2011, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department reopened the death investigation. A year later, the Los Angeles Coroner’s Office amended Wood’s death certificate, as CBS notes, “changing the manner of death from an accidental drowning to ‘drowning and other undetermined factors.’
CBS reports that Wagner has refused to speak with any investigators since the case was reopened seven years ago. “I haven’t seen him tell the details that match all the other witnesses in this case,” Corina said of Wagner. “I think he’s constantly changed his story a little bit. And his version of events just don’t add up.” (CBS adds that Walken has spoken with investigators, though neither actor spoke with the “48 Hours” team.)
In a new preview of the special, Moriarty asks Corina if he believes Wood was murdered. “I think it’s suspicious enough to make us think that something happened,” he said.
“Natalie Wood: Death in Dark Water” to set to be broadcast Saturday, February 3 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.