Seventeen years after the mysterious drowning death of Natalie Wood, her sister Lana Wood says she thinks Robert Wagner killed the actress.
“I know exactly what happened from what Dennis [the boat’s skipper] has told me,” Lana Wood told on Megyn Kelly on Wednesday morning.
“They had a fight, they had a bad fight, Dennis said it sounded like furniture was being thrown around and he knocked on the door, RJ [Wagner] opened it a little bit, said ‘mind your own business,’ so Dennis then left,” Lana continued while a guest on “Megyn Kelly Today.”
“He went outside, turned up the music because they were being so loud, and started walking towards the back of the boat. When he turned that corner, RJ was standing there. Dennis asked, ‘where is Natalie?’ and RJ said, ‘she’s gone.'”
When Kelly asked whether she thinks Wagner murdered her sister, Lana Wood said, “yes.” When contacted by TheWrap, a spokesperson for Wagner said he had no comment.
Lana Wood went on to tell Kelly that Wagner’s story — that the “Rebel Without a Cause” actress heard a dinghy banging up against the side of the boat and probably went to go fix it when she fell into the water and died, seemed unlikely.
“I don’t know that I ever believed it,” she said. “I wanted to believe it, because if I didn’t believe it, it would be something very ugly.”
She added, “the dinghy is rubber and you can’t really hear much when it bangs on the side and that’s why they had a skipper on board, to do all of those things. If that had been the case, she would’ve called for Dennis.”
Lana Wood also said that her sister was “terrified” of water and that it was a downright “phobia of hers that had haunted her since she was a teenager.” It all stemmed back to her mother who told the kids she had her fortune told by a gypsy, who had said that one of her kids would be known around the world but would later die from drowning.
Wood was married to Wagner from 1972 until her death on Nov. 29, 1981, off Catalina Island in California. The then 43-year-old actress was sailing with Wagner, as well as Christopher Walken and Captain Dennis Davern, but was found floating in the water wearing a red down jacket and a flannel nightgown.
After a two-week investigation, the death was ruled as an accident, but the case was reopened in 2011. In 2012, the Los Angeles Coroner’s Office amended the death certificate, changing the cause of death to “drowning and other undetermined factors.” The autopsy report indicates that there were several fresh bruises on Wood’s body when she was found.
In February, Wagner was named a person of interest in the case. In 2011, he was named “not a suspect” by the sheriff’s department. Investigators said Wagner has refused to speak with them since the case was reopened. There has long been speculation about the death of the “West Side Story” star — at first, Wagner, Walken and Davern told detectives that she took a dinghy and went to shore. Over time, investigators say, Wagner and Davern’s accounts shifted.
“I want him to tell the truth, and to own what has happened and to be strong enough to do that,” concluded Lana Wood.
Lana Wood also discusses the mysterious death of her sister on her new podcast, “Fatal Voyage.”
Watch the whole interview with Kelly here.