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Hollywood star Robert Wagner smashed a bottle of wine in a fit of rage and screamed to actor Christopher Walken "Do you want to f*ck my wife" in the moments before she fell overboard on the fateful night 30 years ago, the boat's captain has claimed.
Recalling what he saw on the night from the bridge of the luxury yacht, the captain told the cops who've re-opened the cold case: "The only full sentence I could completely decipher during the entire argument was “Get off my f*cking boat” said by Robert Wagner."
Fifteen minutes later, when he arrived on the open deck where Wood, 43, and Wagner had been arguing, Dennis Davern recounted how only "Wagner was present, and he stood near the far rear wall of the yacht."
L.A. County officials who re-opened the investigation into Wood's death said at a press conference on Friday that Wagner is not a suspect in her death.
In a sworn statement to homicide detectives obtained exclusively by RadarOnline.com, Davern suggested the booze fueled confrontation triggered Wagner, now 81, to have a blow-up with his wife Natalie Wood, who was later found drowned in the water off Santa Catalina Island, Calif., in 1981.
He appeared "sweaty, flushed, anxious, nervous, and disheveled," the boatman claimed.
"He (Wagner) told me 'Natalie is missing' and asked me to search the yacht," Davern told police, in the document that triggered the sensational move to re-examine the mysterious case.
"He led me through the stateroom which was a mess...it had been spotless when I passed through it after securing the dinghy a half-hour earlier."
Walken was asleep in the cabin where he retreated to after the "f*ck my wife" slur, Davern said.
"I immediately wanted to radio for help and to turn on the searchlight, but Robert Wagner told me, sternly, “We are not going to do that. We will wait and see if she returns.”
"His choice led me to presume that he knew his wife was in the dinghy and had taken off in it. I knew that Natalie Wood had never taken the dinghy alone, day or night, as she did not know how to operate it.
"While we waited, Wagner opened scotch and poured alcohol for me. He encouraged me to drink. He discussed with me the repercussions of bringing any immediate attention to the situation and he claimed he did not want to tarnish his image.
"After an hour passed, Wagner began crying and repeated, 'She’s gone, she’s gone, she’s gone' which I believed a strange thing to say.
"Over two hours passed before I finally convinced Robert Wagner to make a call for help. He did not call for professional help. He radioed the Island area and said, “Someone is missing from our boat.” He did not mention Natalie Wood’s name.
"Island help showed up and after an hour or so, the local Harbormaster arrived and suggested the Coast Guard be called immediately, but Wagner still claimed he did not want to tarnish his image by drawing public attention to the situation.
At 3:30 a.m., the Harbormaster insisted the crew of the Splendour phone the Coast Guard and file a missing person report, the captain recalled.
"Crucial time had been wasted," wrote Davern.
"Wagner’s primary concern was what he would tell the public or authorities when questioned. He repeatedly told me to remain quiet about anything I knew, again citing the importance of his public image. He demanded I say nothing if questioned.
When the Coast Guard rescue team arrived, "they seemed angry that we had waited so long to call for professional assistance."
Wood was found floating face down at 7:45 a.m.
Said Davern, "After the news was relayed to us aboard the Splendour, Robert Wagner and Christopher Walken were flown from the Island by helicopter to the Mainland before the detectives on the case arrived.
"I was left behind to identify Wood’s body, as Wagner had asked me to do. I noticed bruises on her body and my first thought was that the bruises might have been acquired during the argument in the stateroom and on the rear deck."
That "loud" argument, which spilled onto the deck, was "fast and furious" according to Davern, who reported he heard things (objects, possibly people) hitting the walls and things being thrown at the ceiling."
Robert Wagner has issued the following statement about the new investigation:
"Although no one in the Wagner family has heard from the LA County Sheriff's department about this matter, they fully support the efforts of the LA County Sheriff's Dept. and trust they 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."
More Natalie Wood news (LINKS):
Christopher Walken Hires Hawyer Over Natalie Wood Investigation
On the night of her death, Hollywood actress Natalie Wood and husband Robert Wagner did Quaaludes according to a book cowritten by the boat's captain. The captain, Dennis Davern spoke to TODAY in an interview and claimed Robert was responsible for her DEATH!!!! (VIDEO / ARTICLE LINK). Did Robert's jealousy over costar Christopher Walken contribute to her death? Perhaps he killed Wood in their cabin in a jealous rage and dumped the body into the water. According to an article on CNN, Natalie's dead body was found floating in the water about a mile away from the yacht in 1981. She had two dozen bruises including a facial abrasion on her left cheek along with bruises on her arms. She was only wearing a long nightgown with a down jacket and socks.
Marti Rulli -- who co-authored the book -- has been in regular touch with the L.A. County Sheriff's Dept. over the last few months. She has given Sheriff's investigators documents supporting material in her book, and we're told the Sheriff is so impressed he has assigned 2 full-time homicide detectives to the case.
In the book -- "Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour" -- Rulli and Splendour Captain Dennis Davern write about the night Natalie drowned. They say before Natalie disappeared from the boat, she was drinking and taking Quaaludes with her husband, Robert Wagner and actor Christopher Walken.
According to the book, Wagner became enraged when he saw Wood and Walken speaking, and smashed a wine bottle, yelling at Walken, "What do you want to do, f**k my wife? Is that what you want?"
At that point, Walken returned to his cabin and Natalie and Robert went to their state room. According to the Captain, he heard a loud argument between the couple and thumping sounds, and eventually silence.
A short time later, the Captain went to the deck and was told by Wagner, "Natalie is missing."
The book claims Wagner refused to let the Captain call the Coast Guard.
Wagner told the Capt. the dinghy was gone, along with Natalie, but some doubted that because she was deathly afraid of dark water.
The death was ruled an accident, but Rulli was like a pit bull since the book was written in 2008.
Via Today / MSNBC:
The former captain of the boat from which actress Natalie Wood drowned in 1981 alleged on TODAY Friday that her husband, actor Robert Wagner, was responsible for her death.
Dennis Davern said he is now urging homicide investigators to look into Wood's death. She had been boating with Wagner and his "Brainstorm" co-star Christopher Walken near Santa Catalina Island off the coast of California when she drowned.
"I made some terrible decisions and mistakes," Davern told NBC News' David Gregory. "I did lie on a report several years ago."
He added, "I made mistakes by not telling the honest truth in a police report."
When pressed by Gregory, Davern said he believed Wagner had intentionally kept the investigation into her death low-profile. And when asked if he thought Wagner was "responsible" for Wood's death, Davern said, "yes, I would say so. Yes."
"We didn't take any steps to see if we could locate her," Davern added. "I think it was a matter of, 'We're not going to look too hard, we're not going to turn on the searchlight, we're not going to notify anybody right now.'"
Wagner's publicist issued a statement saying his family supported the L.A. County sheriff's department "and trust they 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."
See also: Natalie Wood & Robert Wagner Did Quaaludes The Night She Died (Hollywood Rag)
See also: Natalie Wood death probe to be reopened (Huffington Post)