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Renewed Natalie Wood death investigation might be nearing end

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Damian Dovarganes/ AP Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau Capt. Christopher Bergner, left, looks on as Lt. John Corina, right, talks about the most current information of the Natalie Wood death examination at a news conference in Los Angeles, Monday, Feb. 5, 2018.

Monday, Feb. 5, 2018|5:10 p.m.

LOS ANGELES– Detectives hope the restored interest in the mystical 1981 drowning death of starlet Natalie Wood will bring forward brand-new witnesses who provide the details needed to figure out if the case was a criminal offense or terrible accident. If not, it might be the end of the investigation, a Los Angeles County constable’s authorities stated Monday

For almost four years, speculation has swirled around the death of the 43-year-old starlet who was chosen for three Academy Awards and starred in “West Side Story” and “Rebel Without a Cause.” She was on a yacht with her spouse, actor Robert Wagner, star Christopher Walken and the boat captain on Thanksgiving weekend of 1981. After a night of drinking, her body was found floating in the waters off Southern California’s Catalina Island.

Detectives at first ruled her death as an unintentional drowning. However the case was resumed in 2011 to see whether Wagner or anybody else contributed after the boat’s captain stated he heard the couple arguing the night of her disappearance. The coroner’s office later changed Wood’s death certificate to include “drowning and other undetermined factors.”

Investigators have actually reclassified Wood’s drowning as a “suspicious death” and state Wagner is a person of interest in the case. However the evidence gathered so far hasn’t reached the limit for a murder examination and there are no immediate strategies to submit criminal charges, investigators said Monday.

Numerous brand-new witnesses have actually come forward because the case was resumed, including one who described hearing shouting and crashing noises originating from the couple’s stateroom, authorities stated. Soon after that, separate witnesses who were on a boat that remained in the water nearby, heard a males and female arguing on the back of the boat and think the voices were those of Wood and Wagner, inning accordance with detectives.

Those witnesses corroborated the account of the boat’s captain, Dennis Davern, who had informed investigators he heard Wood and Wagner arguing in their cabin on the boat and went to check on them. When he went to their cabin, Wagner informed him to disappear prior to Wagner and Wood wound up arguing on the back of the boat, constable’s murder Lt. John Corina said Davern informed private investigators.

” He was the last individual with her, arguing, before everything went peaceful,” Corina stated of Wagner. “He’s an individual of interest due to the fact that he was the last individual with her prior to she went in the water.”

Wagner just talked to detectives after the drowning in 1981 and although detectives have aimed to question him numerous time because they reopened examination, he has refused, Corina said.

Wagner’s initial statement about exactly what took place and subsequent remarks about the case “really do not amount to exactly what we discovered,” Corina stated.

Wagner has actually rejected any involvement in Wood’s death and his attorney has stated he completely cooperated with detectives.

The star’s press agent, Alan Nierob, stated investigators have not contacted Wagner, now 87, in more than 5 years however declined to comment even more on the case. Sheriff’s officials would not say Monday when they last tried to get in touch with Wagner.

Time has actually been the largest barrier in the probe and the original investigator and much of the witnesses have died, Corina stated.

” We’re doing our last shot here, seeing if anyone else comes forward with any info,” he said. “When the suggestions all dry up, then I think we carry on to the next case.”

AP press reporter John Antczak added to this report.