| LOS ANGELES
LOS ANGELES Nov 18 Homicide detectives who
have reopened an inquiry into the death of Natalie Wood said on
Friday the film star's husband, actor Robert Wagner, was not
considered a suspect in the case.
The new investigation was opened into Wood's 1981 drowning
off the California coast after a yacht captain said he lied
about the incident three decades ago and now holds Wagner
responsible for her death.
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Homicide Lt. John Corina told
reporters at a news conference on Friday the original finding
that Wood's death was an accidental drowning had not changed.
But detectives had reopened the investigation based on new
information from several sources "which we felt was substantial
enough to make us take another look at this case," he said.
Asked by reporters if Wagner, now 81, was considered a
suspect, Corina responded: "No."
In an interview with NBC's "Today" show, yacht captain
Dennis Davern said Wagner fought with Wood, 43, shortly before
she went missing from the "Splendour" and Wagner showed little
interest in trying to find her.
Wood had spent the night dining and drinking with Wagner,
and her "Brainstorm" co-star, Christopher Walken.
Her body was found floating in a Catalina Island cove off
the coast of California on Nov. 29, 1981. The Los Angeles
County Coroner ruled her death an accidental drowning, noting
that Wood had been drinking and was intoxicated when she died.
Questions over the circumstances surrounding her death have
lingered for 30 years.
A spokesman for Wagner has said the actor's family had not
been contacted by sheriff's officials but "fully supports" the
The family members trust the sheriff's department "will
evaluate whether any new information relating to the death of
Natalie Wood Wagner is valid and that it comes from a credible
source or sources, other than those simply trying to profit
from the 30-year anniversary of her tragic death," spokesman
Alan Nierob said in the statement.
The department has asked that anyone with information about
Wood's drowning contact sheriff's homicide investigators or an
anonymous tip line.
Wood, born Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko to Russian
immigrant parents in San Francisco, appeared as a child in such
films as the Christmas classic "Miracle on 34th Street" and
"The Ghost and Mrs. Muir."
She was nominated for a best supporting actress Academy
Award as a teenager for her role opposite screen legend James
Dean in the classic 1955 film "Rebel Without a Cause."
Wood was also nominated twice for best actress Oscars, for
parts in the 1961 film "Splendor in the Grass" and "Love with
the Proper Stranger" two years later. She never won the award.
(Editing by Greg McCune and Todd Eastham)