Some quick backstory: in 1981, screen legend Natalie Wood was on a yacht with her husband, Robert Wagner, and her young costar, Christopher Walken. There was a fourth person aboard, too: Dennis Davern, captain of the Splendour. Everyone was tipsy—Wood and Wagner were reportedly mixing alcohol and Quaaludes—and Wood apparently slipped overboard and drowned (according to most reports, Wood had been trying to “tie down a dinghy”). The Los Angeles Coroner Department ruled her death an accident. She was 43.
But Dennis Davern has stepped forward with “new information,” and in turn, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department has decided to reopen the 30-year-old investigation, the department announced yesterday.
According to the press conference I just watched, “new information” is “substantial enough” that the Sheriff’s Department wants to “take another look at the case,” “re-interview some people” from the original case, “interview some new people,” and “reevaluate the evidence.”
The homicide detective leading the investigation, Lieutenant John Corina, was visibly reluctant to detail what this “new information” is, but it’s a sure bet that Dennis Davern’s 2009 allegations—that Robert Wagner told him to not look for Wood in the water, and to not give a full account to investigators—has something to do with the investigation’s revival.
Do detectives plan to “re-interview” Captain Dennis Davern?