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Video: 'Goodbye Natalie' author: Captain's story 'makes sense'

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    >>> natalie wood 's sister is speaking out on the 1981 drowning death. her sister says she does not believe what happened was deliberate but she also doesn't believe wood fell on heir own from the boat she shared with robert wagner . investigators are dealing with conflicting reports of what happened that night. the boat's former captain told david gregory he believed wagner had something to do with it.

    >> was the fight between natalie wood and her husband, robert wagner , what ultimately led to her death?

    >> yes.

    >> how so?

    >> like i said, that's going to be up to the investigates to decide.

    >> was he responsible for her death in some way?

    >> yes, i would say so, yes.

    >> i'm joined by marty rolle, co-author of "good-bye, natalie , good-bye splendor," splendor the name of the boat. you co-authored this book with the captain we saw on the "today" show.

    >> yes.

    >> and he -- he's alleging robert wagner may are had something to do with natalie wood 's death. is the captain credible?

    >> i believe he's credible. his story is the only one that makes sense. and i set out a long time ago to substantiate what he told me because everything that had been put out there was based on theories. and i think a lot of people are missing the point here. this new re-opening of the case is not something that's based on what's new now. it's based on the fact that natalie 's case had never been investigated. her case was closed within days. her case was closed based on theories alone. everyone had theories. no one came up with logical conclusions. she was found floating in the ocean in her pajamas and a coat. so, now what i believe that with the new department, what they're willing to do, is take the case file, and it's an entire body of evidence, not just the captain's account, not just the other witnesses' accounts. there's forensics involved 37 why was natalie floating in her red down jacket and pajamas? there's lots of things to investigate here that was never investigated before.

    >> the captain said that he, robert wagner and christopher walken , got their stories together and they all put forth one communal voice.

    >> i asked dennis about that because dennis and robert wagner had waited four hours before calling for help, professional help for natalie . that was upon wagner 's request. and that was when robert wagner asked dennis to not be forthcoming with everything that had happened. there had been an argument --

    >> what was that argument about?

    >> just jealousy. they had had dinner, went back to the main salon. natalie was chatting with christopher walken and --

    >> who was upset, robert wagner ?

    >> robert wagner robert wagner was reall y upset, accused walken of wanting to have sex with natalie . it was a rainy, cold weekend. maybe a little more drinking than usual but that's what they did on their boating outings, from morning until night they would have cocktails. so it wasn't much different than any other pleasure cruise. but on that particular night the argument carried over to the state room and carried on on the back deck. wagner asked davern to tell anyone about that argument. they were flown off the island in a helicopter right away. and now with a new, fresh crew, ready to investigate this, i think they are going to see a lot of the old evidence.

    >> in part, because they have the three principles, they are alive and healthy and ready to talk about it. marty, thank you. i think we'll be speaking with you again.

IMAGE: Wagner, Wood
TODAY
The investigation into Natalie Wood's 1981 death has been reopened, but police say her husband Robert Wagner is not a suspect in the actress' drowning.
TODAY staff and wire
updated 11/18/2011 5:46:26 PM ET 2011-11-18T22:46:26

The investigation into Natalie Wood's 1981 death has been reopened, but police say her husband Robert Wagner is not a suspect in the actress' drowning.

Lt. John Corina told a news conference Friday that new information is substantial enough to take another look at the case. He said the information came from multiple sources.

This morning on TODAY, the former captain of the boat from which Wood drowned alleged that Wagner was responsible for the actress' death. Dennis Davern, who captained the couple's yacht, Splendour, said he was urging homicide investigators to look into the case.

Story: Wagner's book: Drinking didn't explain Wood's death
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"I made some terrible decisions and mistakes," Davern told NBC News' David Gregory. "I did lie on a report several years ago."

At the news conference, Corina was repeatedly asked if Davern could face charges for lying to police, but refused to talk about any possible arrests or even confirm if Davern had been questioned.

Story: Boat captain alleges actor Robert Wagner responsible for Natalie Wood's death

Wood's death will remain classified as an accidental drowning, Corina said, unless new information changes that.

When a reporter asked if Wood's body, buried in Los Angeles' Westwood Village Memorial Park, would be exhumed for the investigation, Corina said "I don't know if we're going to do that or not."

Video: From 1981: TODAY remembers actress Natalie Wood (on this page)

Wood's body was found floating off Santa Catalina Island off the coast of California. The death was ruled an accidental drowning. Also on the yacht was actor Christopher Walken, her co-star in the 1983 movie "Brainstorm."

Corina said he would not discuss whether Walken had been or would be interviewed as part of the investigation. He said that two homicide detectives had been assigned and would be pursuing the case and would be following up on leads and conducting interviews.

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Photos: Natalie Wood

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  1. Child star

    Natalie Wood started her career as a child actor and went on to adult stardom. She wasn't yet 10 when she starred in the Christmas classic, "A Miracle on 34th Street," in 1947. (Everett Collection) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Lovely ingenue

    Wood, seen here in 1955, moved easily from child acting to more adult roles. (AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Rebels

    One of Wood's most famous roles came in 1955's "Rebel Without a Cause," in which she starred with James Dean. She was nominated for a best supporting actress Oscar for her role. ( Everett Collection) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Hollywood love story

    Wood was just 18 when she began dating 25-year-old Robert Wagner. The two wed a year later, in 1957, and starred together in the box-office flop "All the Fine Young Cannibals" in 1959. A 1980s band took its name from the film. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. I've just met a girl named Maria

    Wood and Richard Beymer played star-crossed lovers in 1961's "West Side Story." The film won 10 Oscars, but the two stars did not receive individual acting awards. (Everett Collection) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Hollywood royalty

    Wood and notorious womanizer Warren Beatty, co-stars in 1961's "Splendour in the Grass," attended the Oscars together that year. Their relationship did not last long. (William Lovelace / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Screen star

    Wood snagged a second to relax in her dressing room in 1962. At the height of her fame, she rivaled legend Liz Taylor for magazine cover appearances. (William Lovelace / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. 'Race' time

    Wood holds a parasol in a scene from 1965's "The Great Race." (Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Golden night.

    Wood and Paul Newman received Golden Globes in 1966 for World Favorite Actor and Actress. (Everett Collection) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Second time around

    Wood and Wagner divorced in 1962, and she married British producer Richard Gregson and had a daughter. But Wood and Gregson split in 1972 and she and Wagner remarried and had a daughter of their own. (Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Seventies style

    Once her daughters were born, Wood, seen here in 1975, moved into semi-retirement from acting, and would only make four more films. (Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Family affair

    Wagner, Wood and their daughter Courtney (held by Wood) and her daughter Natasha arrive in London in 1976. (AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. With Sir Laurence

    Wagner and Wood appeared with Sir Laurence Olivier on his 1976 show, "Laurence Olivier Presents," which adapted famous plays for television. (Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. On the red carpet

    Wagner, sporting a rare mustache, and Wood made for a glamorous couple at the 1979 Oscars. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Final film

    Christopher Walken and Wood starred together in 1983's "Brainstorm," the film they were working on when she died in 1981. Walken was on Wood and Wagner's yacht the night she drowned. (Everett Collection) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Sorrow and Splendour

    Wood died after an evening on the 55-foot-yacht Splendour that she and Wagner owned, named for her 1961 hit "Splendour in the Grass." She was found wearing a down jacket over a nightgown. There had reportedly been an argument between the couple that night. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. A lost mother

    Wagner comforts the couple's daughter, Courtney at her mother's funeral. Courtney was just 7 and Natasha Gregson 11 when Natalie Wood drowned. (Paul Harris / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Rest in peace

    Wood is buried in the quiet Westwood Village Memorial Park in Los Angeles, an urban oasis just steps away from busy UCLA. The mystery of her death has never been fully explained. (Gabriel Bouys / AFP-Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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