PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — There are new doubts in the mysterious drowning of actress Natalie Wood, but Pittsburgh forensic expert Dr. Cyril Wecht says he stands with the medical examiner’s ruling.
The story aired on “48 Hours” Saturday night and now Wecht is providing some perspective after reviewing the case with Dr. Tom Noguchi, who performed the autopsy on actress Natalie Wood after she died.
“I believe this case is not going to go anywhere, and it’s something that surfaces for whatever reason,” said Dr. Cyril Wecht.
Dr. Cyril Wecht is talking about a case from more than 36 years ago when actress Natalie Wood disappeared off of a yacht over Thanksgiving weekend in 1981.
“I’m aware that there was reportedly an argument. A lot of voices. People drinking. Raising hell,” said Wecht.
On board that ship were Wood’s television star husband, Robert Wagner, actor Christopher Walken and the boat’s captain. It’s that captain, Dennis Davern who says he witnessed that alcohol fueled argument between Wood and Wagner right before Wood vanished.
“I find his story, his version of events when he talked to us, everything fit. Makes more sense of what happened and is corroborated by other people,” said investigator Lt. John Corina.
“I opened a bottle of wine and Natalie and Christopher had continued to giggle and then Robert Wagner picked up the bottle of wine and smashed it,” said captain Dennis Davern from an interview in 2011.
Wagner is now being considered a “person of interest” in this case. Dr. Wecht said he’s not sold on that.
“As far as bruises, contusions on Natalie Wood’s body, it is necessary to keep in mind that she did fall from the boat and that she was in the water and not far from the boat,” said Wecht. “You are challenging the competence and integrity of the medical examiner, investigators, DA’s office and everybody in this case.”
Dr. Noguchi ruled Wood’s cause of death as a drowning and her manner of death was originally ruled accidental. Thirty years later her case was re-opened and her manner of death was changed to undetermined.