Wood’s husband rebuffs detectives

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Wood’s husband rebuffs detectives

LOS ANGELES - Hollywood icon Natalie Wood’s husband has declined to talk to detectives who have re-opened a probe into his wife’s mystery 1981 death, saying he has already answered all questions.

A lawyer for 82-year-old actor Robert Wagner said those seeking to challenge the original finding of accidental death by drowning were trying to “exploit and sensationalize” the 30th anniversary of her passing.

“Mr. Wagner has fully cooperated over the last 30 years in the investigation of the accidental drowning of his wife in 1981,” said Blair Berk, attorney for the Wagner family, in a statement.

“Mr. Wagner has been interviewed on multiple occasions by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and answered every single question asked of him by detectives during those interviews.”

The comments came after an updated coroner’s report this week changed the cause of death to “drowning and other undetermined factors” and said she may have ended up in the sea in a “non-volitional” manner.

The “West Side Story” and “Rebel Without a Cause” star drowned on the night of Nov. 29, 1981 off California’s Catalina Island after an evening of drinking and eating with her husband and actor Christopher Walken.

Her “accidental” death at age 43 has long been a Hollywood mystery - but was thought to have been laid to rest until a November 2011 surprise announcement that police were reviving the probe.

Questions were raised by Dennis Davern, captain of the couple’s boat. He co-wrote a 2009 book about the mystery, saying the couple had a fierce argument shortly before she vanished, and that Wagner then delayed a search. A “re-evaluation” coroner’s report, published this week, recounts how Wood, Wagner and Walken were drunk after dining in a restaurant, and continued drinking after returning to the couple’s boat the Splendour.

The captain of the boat said they realized Wood was missing around midnight, but initially thought she might have returned to shore using the boat’s dinghy.

Wagner raised the alarm with authorities at 1:30 a.m. A search was launched, and her body was found floating face-down in the ocean some 200 yards from shore, while the dinghy was found nearby, about a mile from the main boat.

In the new report, the medical examiner said some of the injuries found on her body did not necessarily come from an accident. AFP
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