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The Natalie Wood Case: Someone May Have Heard Her Call for Help


Nearly 30 years to the day since Natalie Wood mysteriously drowned off of California’s Catalina Island, Los Angeles police have reopened the case after hearing several new witness statements. And the latest one is positively haunting and disturbing, if it’s actually true. A woman has come forward saying that for 15 minutes, she heard Wood “crying” for help that she ultimately didn’t get. Past accounts include a response by Wood’s husband, Robert Wagner, who has been ruled out as a suspect in her death. But could have transpired during those long, excruciating minutes while a woman was drowning that didn’t include someone trying to help her?

Marilyn Wayne was boating with her then-boyfriend about 40 yards away from the Splendour, the boat Wood, Wagner, and Christopher Walken (yes, that Christopher Walken) were sailing on the night of November 28, 1981. If you’re wondering what the heck Natalie Wood — of Miracle on 34th Street, Rebel Without a Cause, West Side Story, and Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice fame — was doing with Christopher Walken — who is Christopher Walken — they were shooting the sci-fi flop Brainstorm together at the time. Wood and Walken were also friends — until Wagner suspected that Walken was having an affair with Wood, who was his wife. There was an altercation, but the only casualty was a bottle of wine.

But here is the creepy part, and surprisingly enough, it might not involve Walken: Wayne, upon hearing the cries which are assumed to have been Wood’s, called the police and told them what she heard. She was told that a helicopter would be sent to the scene; a helicopter never showed up. But here is the really terrible part of her account:

“Then I heard a man’s voice, slurred, and in aggravated tone, say something to the effect of, “Oh, hold on, we’re coming to get you,” and not long after, the cries for help subsided, but we heard the cries for up to 15 minutes. We returned to bed, terribly disturbed.”

The next morning, she found out that Natalie Wood was dead, having drowned after falling from the Splendour.

Many people blame Wagner for this tragedy, saying he was never properly interrogated, but police have ruled out naming him as a suspect and the Wagner family is cooperating with the investigation. The captain of the Splendour, Dennis Davern, places a lot of blame on Wagner, but says himself that there weren’t efforts made to search for Wood while she was drowning:

“We didn’t take any steps to see if we could locate her. It was a matter of don’t look too hard, don’t turn on search light, don’t call anyone.”

He also admitted to lying to the police during the investigation, though it’s not clear if he’ll be charged for that. For his part, Walken has not made a statement, but has hired a lawyer and is also cooperating.

But here is the thing: If Marilyn Wayne heard a man’s voice, couldn’t she tell if it was Robert Wagner or Christopher Walken? Two actors with such distinct voices that people can do impressions of both of them that do not exactly sound the same? Even drunk, you must be able to tell the difference between those two! And if it didn’t sound like either of those guys, maybe it was the captain?

It’s such an upsetting story, especially when you remember that Natalie Wood was terrified of the water.

(via ABC News)

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