The detective said that Natalie Wood’s bruises were consistent with her being the victim of an assault.
Natalie died on November 29, 1981, at the age of 43. Her mysterious death has become the subject of a sensational new podcast series, Fatal Voyage: The Mysterious Death Of Natalie Wood.
Produced by American Media Inc and Treefort Media, the podcast investigation is a 12-part series being launched on July 20, on what would have been the movie star’s 80th birthday.
Natalie drowned while on a boat trip to Santa Catalina Island on board the Splendour. Follow us on our Twitter account @amomama_usa to learn more.
On the evening of November 28, 1981, she was with her husband Robert Wagner, Brainstorm co-star Christopher Walken, and the Splendour's captain, Dennis Davern.
The screen siren’s body was found by authorities on November 29, 1981, floating in the water one mile away from the boat.
In the first episode of the podcast, a homicide detective for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Ralph Hernandez, reveals that Natalie's bruises are consistent with her being the victim of an assault.
The original report in 1981 concluded that those bruises were caused by Natalie struggling to climb back aboard after she fell off the yacht.
“The bottom line is, we have someone who died under very suspicious circumstances, and it’s just as important of a case as a murder, but our job is to get to the truth and to hopefully come up with enough evidence to prove that truth.”
Police originally ruled Natalie's death an accident by drowning and hypothermia, after Wagner told authorities he believed his wife slipped while trying to board a dinghy, hit her head and drowned.
However, in February this year, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office announced Wagner had been named a "person of interest” in the “suspicious” death.
“The fact is that we have a lot of information as to the events of what occurred that evening,” Hernandez said. “We have a lot of evidence that tends to point to a very suspicious death and would certainly indicate the possibility of foul play.”
The podcast, hosted by investigative journalist Dylan Howard, also tries to analyze the original autopsy of Natalie, the bruises discovered on her body and her blood alcohol content.
Since the case was reopened in 2011, Wagner has declined to talk to officials about Natalie’s death.