Lana Wood spoke out in a new podcast and said she is frustrated her sister's husband Robert Wagner will not speak with investigators.
“He has always refused,” said the 72-year-old. “How long has the case been reopened? It wasn’t reopened yesterday, was it?"
Natalie’s body was found floating in the water off Santa Catalina Island on Nov. 29, 1981. She was 43. The “West Side Story” star was traveling on the family’s yacht Splendour with fellow actor and husband Robert Wagner, the ship’s Capt. Dennis Davern, and Wood’s friend, actor Christopher Walken.
A 12-part podcast, titled “Fatal Voyage: The Mysterious Death of Natalie Wood,” launched Friday, the day that the doomed screen siren would have turned 80 years old.
Wood, also an actress, was interviewed by the show’s host, journalist Dylan Howard. Howard told Lana Wood that his sources claimed Wagner won’t talk to police because his memory “is unreliable” and “he has early onset memory loss and he really doesn’t want to answer those questions.”
The former Bond girl scoffed at the claim.
“That’s nonsense,” she said. “It’s absolute nonsense.”
When Howard asked Lana Wood if police should arrest Wagner for questioning, she responded, “Yes, I do.”
“And they would love to,” she claimed. “They have literally told me that.”
She also shared that at the time of Natalie’s death, her beloved sibling was allegedly “done” with her marriage to Wagner.
“Too many things,” she explained. “The continual fights; the sudden push that she wanted towards her career; her feeling that the kids were old enough and had been given enough of a basis where she could go off to work… There’s jealousy involved. It’s particularly difficult for a man who has a wife who’s doing better.”
She added her sister’s death is especially bizarre because she was frightened of water.
“She was terrified of water going all the way back to when I was a kid and Natalie was a teen and my mother would continually tell the story of the gypsy who told my mother’s fortune in China who said that she would have a world-famous daughter and that somebody would die by drowning,” she claimed.
“It further terrified Natalie, who wasn’t exactly fond of the water as it was. My mother never learned to swim either. Natalie never learned to swim.”
She has her own theory of what really happened on the last day of Natalie’s life.
“I believe that there was a horrible fight onboard the Splendour,” she explained. “I think the evidence is also not just what Dennis Davern, the captain, has said, but the broken wine bottle and the threat that was first denied by Robert Wagner and then later in another book that he wrote he admitted to it. I think that things got out of hand. I know Natalie can verbally push, and Natalie was a very by-the-rule person… She did not put up with a great deal that she felt was harmful to her.
“I think it escalated to a point where she was either struck or pushed. I don’t believe that it was planned. I don’t believe in any of those bizarre stories, but I do know she would not have ended up somewhere where she would completely never ever go in a million years or certainly not go out not dressed. There’s just too much that doesn’t add up to who Natalie is.”
If Lana Wood had the chance to confront her brother-in-law today, she would have one message for him.
“The same thing I’ve always thought: Tell the truth for once and for all,” she said.
The podcast highlights never-before-heard interviews with Natalie herself, as well as excerpts from her unpublished memoir.
In addition, dozens of family members and friends open up in “candid” new interviews, according to the publication. Howard and his team spent the last seven years investigating Natalie’s final hours, as well as the immediate aftermath of her shocking demise.
Natalie’s body was found in the water by a restaurant owner after an apparent night of drinking. She was wearing only a nightgown and a red jacket.
Police originally deemed her death an accident, after Wagner told authorities he believed his spouse slipped while trying to board a dinghy, hit her head and drowned.
In February of this year, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office announced Wagner, now 88, had been named a “person of interest” in the “suspicious” death of Natalie.
Davern, the captain of the boat who first spoke to “48 Hours” back in 2011, revealed it had been a “tension-filled weekend” that was allegedly fueled by alcohol and Wagner’s jealousy of Natalie’s co-star, Walken.
“It just kept getting more tense – every minute – of the day,” claimed Davern. “I opened a bottle of wine and – Natalie and Christopher had continued to giggle. And then Robert Wagner – picked up the bottle of wine and smashed it… Natalie, she said, ‘I cannot take this,’ and she went into her room. And – then RJ went into the room – Natalie and RJ’s room – and started arguing, yelling – things being thrown about.
“The fighting continued. And then – to the back of the boat. I was concerned that something really bad was going down, because of the fighting, the arguing was so intense.”
While it’s been reported that Davern sold his story to tabloids for money and collaborated on a tell-all book over the years, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Lt. John Corina said in February his version of events “fit.”
“Makes more sense of what happened and is corroborated by other people,” he said.
Soon after that, other witnesses claimed they heard a man and a woman arguing on the back of the boat. They believed the voices belonged to the couple.
In February, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Lieutenant John Corina told “48 Hours” that investigators wanted to talk to Wagner about the events leading up to Natalie’s death.
After excerpts of the “48 Hours” interview were released, the office confirmed Natalie’s drowning was being investigated and that new witnesses had come forward.
The initial coroner’s report ruled Natalie’s passing was “accidental death by drowning.” However, the case was reopened in 2011.
A rep for Wagner has declined to comment.
Wood and Wagner married in December 1957. The two began dating when she was 17 and he was 26. They divorced in April 1962 and remarried in 1972.
Back in 2016, Wagner told Fox News he still has fond memories of his late wife.
“Oh God, I do have many,” he shared. “You know, Natalie was such a special, marvelous woman… How lucky I was. I just had such wonderful times with her. We have our daughter and we were very lucky to have that happened to us. She was just a marvelous, marvelous light. My light and the light for our children. She was just a special person.”