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Natalie Wood's Sister Just Shared New Details About Her Unsolved Murder

Lana Wood opens up about her older sister's death in a new book.

Natalie Wood's death remains one of the longest ongoing Hollywood mysteries, and the speculation over how it happened is still continuing on. In a new book, Natalie's sister, actor Lana Wood, writes about the star's death by drowning, including her thoughts on what occurred that night, as well as the latest from the investigation. Ahead of the release of the book, Little Sister: My Investigation into the Mysterious Death of Natalie Wood, Lana spoke with the New York Post about the tragic situation and said that she has "no doubt" who is responsible for her sister's death. Read on to see what Lana has to say and to learn more about where the investigation stands now.

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Natalie Wood died in 1981.

Natalie Wood at the Golden Globe Awards in 1966
Earl Leaf/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

In November 1981, Natalie spent time on her yacht near Catalina Island off the coast of California with her husband Robert Wagner, friend and Brainstorm co-star Christopher Walken, and the boat's captain Dennis Davern. On the night of Nov. 29, Natalie drowned to death. Her body was later found about a mile away from the yacht with the yacht's dinghy nearby. According to Biography, her death was ruled an "accidental drowning" by the coroner's office. Still, questions remained, including how Natalie got into the water, why she was with the dinghy, and why the others on the boat didn't know about her entering the water until it was too late.

It's long been alleged that Wagner was involved.

Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner at Heathrow Airport in 1976
PA Images via Getty Images

Natalie and Wagner were married from 1957 to 1962 and then married again in 1972. They had one child together. Wagner has remained a "person of interest" in the death of his wife. According to Biography, there have seemingly been inconsistencies in Wagner's story. For instance, he told authorities that he had been arguing with Natalie prior to her disappearance, but said in his 1986 book that Natalie went to bed when she grew bored of his political conversation with Walken.

Wagner has denied being responsible for Natalie's death. He told People in 2016 of his family, "We were all so shattered by the loss, and we were hanging on to each other." When Lana and Davern said in 2018 that they believe Wagner killed Natalie, Wagner's rep told USA Today, "They are despicable human beings, capitalizing on the accidental death of a beloved member of the Wagner family. They should be ashamed of themselves."

Now, Lana reiterates that she thinks Wagner is responsible.

Natalie and Lana Wood at a screening of "Dark Eyes" in 1981
Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Speaking to the New York Post ahead of the release of her book, Lana again alleged that Wagner killed her sister. "I don't believe it was premeditated," she said. "But that doesn't mean I don't think he did it: Of course he did!"

Lana has spoken out many times about her older sister's death. In 1984, she wrote the book Natalie Wood: A Memoir by Her Sister. When Lana was interviewed by Dr. Phil McGraw in 2018, he asked her (via USA Today), "Are you suggesting that he knocked her out and threw her in the water?" She responded, "Something like that, absolutely."

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Lana's new book delves into the investigation.

The cover of "Little Sister" by Lana Woods
Harper Collins

The investigation into Natalie's death has spanned decades. The case was reopened in 2011 when Davern published a book and said that he didn't tell police everything he knew at the time. Around this time new witnesses also came forward. In 2018, the sheriff's department said that Wagner had remained a "person of interest" due to the fact that he was the last one who was with the West Side Story star before she died. At a 2018 press conference, Lt. John Corina said that it was a "suspicious death investigation" rather than a "murder investigation." He stated, according to The Hollywood Reporter, "We're not pressing charges on anyone. We're still trying to figure out what happened."

According to the official description of the book, "Little Sister recounts Lana's search for the truth and brings to light explosive details that have been suppressed for decades."

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Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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