It’s been practically 40 years since Lana Wooden misplaced her sister – and she or he’s decided to seek out out what actually occurred.
In 1981, Natalie Wooden’s physique was discovered off California’s Catalina Island. The 43-year-old, who had a concern of darkish water, was carrying a purple down jacket and a nightgown. She had been consuming closely aboard a yacht along with her husband, Robert Wagner, and co-star Christopher Walken. The one different particular person aboard was the boat’s captain, Dennis Davern.
“So far as I’m involved, we’re nonetheless on the case,” Wooden informed Fox Information. “I’m hoping that maybe anyone’s son or daughter would have seen or remembered one thing. There’s received to be extra individuals on the market that know one thing.”
The guy actress has just lately written a memoir titled “Little Sister: My Investigation into the Mysterious Death of Natalie Wood” the place she sheds mild on particulars surrounding the case and the way she has fought for solutions through the years.
Authorities initially dominated the dying an unintentional drowning. Nonetheless, that modified after years of scrutiny and extra witnesses rising. In 2011, authorities reopened the investigation after Davern mentioned he heard the couple arguing the night time of Natalie’s disappearance.
The Los Angeles coroner’s workplace amended Wooden’s dying certificates in 2012 to incorporate “drowning and different undetermined elements.” The change partly as a result of investigators couldn’t rule out that a number of the bruises and marks on Wooden’s physique occurred earlier than she went into the water, based on the report. Wooden wasn’t carrying a life jacket, had no historical past of suicide makes an attempt and didn’t go away a notice.
The report additionally revealed that investigators hadn’t preserved Wooden’s fingernails to find out if she had tried to claw her manner again into the dinghy. Scratch marks have been discovered on the craft’s hull.
Then in 2018, the lead detective within the case mentioned Wagner was thought-about an individual of curiosity. The actor, now 91, has denied any involvement in Natalie’s dying, and no costs have been filed. His spokesperson had no remark when Fox Information reached out in regard to Lana Wooden’s e book.
That very same 12 months, Lana Wooden and Davern participated in a podcast titled “Deadly Voyage” which pointed fingers at Wagner. On the time, a spokesperson for Wagner informed Fox News: “They’re despicable human beings, capitalizing on the unintentional dying of a beloved member of the Wagner household. They need to be ashamed of themselves.”
Lana Wooden, who has no relationship with the actor, mentioned she beforehand pleaded with Wagner to talk with the investigators dealing with the case.
“I couldn’t perceive why he wouldn’t converse to the detectives,” mentioned the 75-year-old. “He by no means did. And I don’t know that he ever will. Will there ever be a deathbed confession? Most likely not. It simply appears to be going that manner. All I can do is have the reality printed.”
Lana Wooden mentioned she has zero doubts that Wagner is “accountable” for what occurred to her sister.
“There have been two individuals on the again of the boat after which there was just one,” she alleged. “I maintain him accountable.”
In a 2008 memoir, Wagner wrote that he and Walken argued on the night time in query. When he went to mattress, the star observed that his spouse and a rubber dinghy that had been tied to the yacht have been lacking.
“There are solely two potentialities,” Wagner wrote. “Both she was making an attempt to get away from the argument, or she was making an attempt to tie the dinghy. However the backside line is that no one is aware of precisely what occurred.”
Walken, now 78, has mentioned little publicly through the years in regards to the incident and has supplied brusque replies at instances when pressed. Nonetheless, he informed Playboy in 1997 that he thought Wooden was most likely half-asleep and slipped, hit her head and fell from the dinghy.
Lana Wooden mentioned it was unlikely that Natalie would have tried to depart the boat on her personal.
“That’s fairly drastic for Natalie,” the previous Bond woman defined. “She at all times had a factor about being alone. I had flown to New York a few instances to stick with her as a result of she would name and say, ‘There’s no one right here. How briskly are you able to get right here?’ After which I might do the whole lot I may to get on a aircraft and be along with her. Being alone was at all times a problem for her. So I can’t think about she would attempt to go away a ship in the midst of the darkish by herself.”
Lana Wooden claimed that she has tried to attach with Natalie’s daughters through the years who have been raised by Wagner.
“I’ve despatched numerous letters and made many photograph calls,” she alleged. “However I perceive. Their mother died and their father was the one father or mother they’d left. So in fact they have been going to imagine the whole lot he mentioned. It’s devastating what occurred to these women. However I’ve tried.”
Lana Wooden mentioned that HBO beforehand approached her for its documentary “Natalie Wooden: What Stays Behind.” It featured interviews with Natalie’s family members, shut associates and confidantes, together with daughter Natasha Gregson Wagner. Nonetheless, Wooden claimed she informed the community that she would comply with take part underneath the situation that she sat down with the 51-year-old privately.
“I needed to make it possible for she felt snug with me doing it,” mentioned Wooden. “I didn’t get a straight reply. So I thought of it and mentioned, ‘I can’t work with somebody who thinks badly of me or doesn’t wish to see me. Doesn’t wish to speak to me. I’m simply not snug with that.’ I mentioned no. And I feel that was the one time I ever turned down something that needed to do with Natalie… I assume it’ll at all times be that manner.”
A rep for the actress didn’t instantly reply to Fox Information’ request for remark.
Lana Wooden mentioned she is going to proceed to push for solutions concerning her sister’s tragic passing. Natalie, she mentioned, would have carried out the identical for her.
“I hope that after studying this e book, individuals will be taught what Natalie was actually like and what she went by way of,” mentioned Wooden.
The Related Press contributed to this report.