It broke over the weekend that Los Angeles County police have re-opened the investigation into the drowning death of actress Natalie Wood in 1981, due to more information that has come to light as part of a “48 Hours Mystery” special on the incident, which was originally ruled an accidental drowning.
The latest twist in the saga is Marilyn Wayne, a California resident who was sailing nearby the Splendour, the yacht on which Wood, her husband Robert Wagner and her co-star Christopher Walken were boating. Wayne claims in a sworn statement to police that she and her boyfriend at the time John Payne, heard a woman screaming for help, reports ABC News.
“A woman’s voice, crying for help from drowning awakened John, and he awakened me. ‘Help me, someone please help me, I’m drowning’ we heard repeatedly. Alarmed, I called out to my son, who also heard the cries, and looked at his new digital watch: it was just minutes after 11:00 P.M.,” Wayne says in her statement.
Wayne goes on to say that Payne turned on the sailboat’s light beam and shone it over the area as they heard the cries, but were unable to see anything.
“While listening to the cries, we called the harbor patrol but no one answered. Then we called the sheriff’s office in Avalon, 12 miles away, and whoever answered told us a helicopter would be sent, but it did not come. We heard loud music coming from somewhere, so thought there was a party on a nearby boat. Then I heard a man’s voice, slurred, and in aggravated tone, say something to the effect of, “Oh, hold on, we’re coming to get you,” and not long after, the cries for help subsided, but we heard the cries for up to 15 minutes. We returned to bed, terribly disturbed,” the statement continues.
Wayne also says she is shocked Robert Wagner was never properly investigated.
“After all I’ve learned since my own direct experience with the death of Natalie, I am stunned that Robert Wagner has never been properly interrogated in regards to Natalie Wood’s death. In my opinion, Natalie Wood’s case is one of the top most botched cases of the 20th century, and I am still willing to offer my assistance should you finally realize that this case needs what every death case deserves: a full and proper investigation,” Wayne says in her statement to investigators.