The man who captained the yacht silver screen starlet Natalie Wood died on says he believes her husband, Robert Wagner, is responsible, and claims he stopped all search efforts.
Dennis Davern was one of only four people on board the Splendour on November 28, 1981. He was joined by Wood, Wagner, and actor Christopher Walken.
During the weekend the trio of actors and their captain spent on the boat, Davern claims they had been fighting terribly, with Wood asking the captain to take her away and trying to call a seaplane to escape, and Wagner arguing with Walken about his attitude towards Wood.
Davern told producers of Fatal Voyage: The Mysterious Death of Natalie Wood that the night Wood disappeared, all three actors were arguing, when the actress stormed out and went to her room.
He claims Walken also stormed out and went to his cabin at the end of the boat, while Wagner stayed where he was, and began to drink with the captain.
Eventually, Wagner went to check on his wife, and Davern claims a scuffle broke out between the pair. When the captain went to investigate, he claims Wagner told him to go away.
Afterwards, he believes Natalie was killed and thrown overboard.
Davern claims he eventually made his way to the back of the ship, where he found Wagner at the swim steps, and noticed Wood and the dinghy were missing.
At this point, the seaman claims he tried to start a search for Wood.
‘I saw the dinghy was missing and fired up the engines to start searching,’ he told the podcast.
‘But RJ [Wagner] said “no, no, let’s not do that. Let’s just stay, let’s have another bottle of wine”.’
Davern says when Woods’ body was found, it was him, not Wagner, who was left to identify her.
‘The next morning, Natalie’s body was found near the dinghy – about half a mile from the Splendour,’ he said.
‘RJ and Walken went by helicopter back to the mainland, and I had to identify Natalie’s body.’
Afterwards, at Woods’ wake, Davern claims he was introduced to Walken’s lawyer.
Soon, he claims he became stuck in the home, getting around only by a limousine that would wait out the front of wherever he wanted to go, so he would return to Wagner’s home.
Davern said Wagner spent these weeks drinking and crying in his bedroom.
‘Later, it crossed my mind they didn’t want me to say anything about what happened on the Splendour,’ he said.
Police re-opened the case into Woods’ death in February 2018, and Wagner has been named as a suspect, but has so far declined to speak with authorities.