The New Evidence Found In Natalie Wood's Death That Lead Police To Finally Name Robert Wagner A 'Person Of Interest'

Photo: Hollywood Life
Natalie Woods murder

It's been almost 40 years since she died.

Almost 40 years after Natalie Wood was found dead and floating off Catalina Island, new evidence has led police to name her then-husband, Robert Wagner, as a person of interest. 

The mystery surrounding the West Side Story actress' death is the center of an upcoming 48 Hours on CBS. Police told the show they want to speak with Wagner, now 87, about the last time he saw her alive. 

Woods' death was ruled accidental and was closed until her sister encouraged police to keep investigating in 2011. 

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“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. “I mean, we know now that he was the last person to be with Natalie before she disappeared.”

Woods disappeared Nov. 29, 1981, after taking the family yacht on a cruise off the coast of California. Along with her husband, Christopher Walken, 74, was also aboard the ship as well as Captain Dennis Davern. 

When Woods body was found a day after she disappeared, she was floating in the water and wearing a red down jacket and a flannel nightgown. She was 43 when she died. 

Her case was reopened with police amended her death certificate's manner of death from "accidental drowning" to "drowning and other undetermined factors." 

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The autopsy report indicated that Woods had a number of bruises on her body that appeared to be fresh at the time of her death. 

She was famously terrified of dark and deep water, and all men aboard the ship that night said she had taken off in a dinghy to go back to shore. 

"I haven’t seen [Robert] tell the details that match all the other witnesses in this case,” Corina told 48 Hours. “I think he’s constantly changed his story a little bit. And his version of events just don’t add up.”

"We have not been able to prove this was a homicide. And we haven’t been able to prove that this was an accident, either,” says Los Angeles County Sherriff’s Department Detective Ralph Hernandez. “The ultimate problem is we don’t know how she ended up in the water.”

Natalie Wood: Death in Dark Water will air Feb. 3 at 10 p.m. ET on CBS. 

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Emily Blackwood is an editor at YourTango who covers pop culture, true crime, dating, relationships and everything in between. Every Wednesday at 10:20 p.m. you can ask her any and all questions about self-love, dating, and relationships LIVE on YourTango’s Facebook page. You can follow her on Instagram (@blackw00d) and Twitter (@emztweetz).