Natalie Wood Case: Police Contacted Boat Owner Weeks Ago

Ron Nelson says he knew the investigation would be re-opened weeks ago

Last Updated: November 19, 2011 @ 12:45 PM

The police have contacted the boat owner in the newly re-opened case of actress Natalie Wood's death, he told Hawaiian television station KHON.

Ron Nelson, who now lives in Hawaii, bought the boat that will forever be linked with Wood’s mysterious death back in 1981 and now the L.A. Sheriff's Department, which formally re-opened the investigation on Friday, will come to Hawaii to inspect the boat.

The re-opening of the Natalie Wood case has come as a shock to many – it has been nearly 30 years after all — but Nelson says he knew of the L.A. Sheriff Department’s plan well in advance.

"I have known for a few weeks that there was going to be a police investigation," Nelson told KHON. "But I didn't know it was going to explode like it did overnight."

And explode it has. News organizations across the country have been reporting on the story, fueling speculation about a case that remains as murky as it has ever been.

Perhaps even murkier.

Also Read: Natalie Wood's Yacht Captain: I Was Loaded When She Disappeared

Wood was boating off Catalina Island on the Splendour, a 60-foot yacht, with husband Robert Wagner and co-star Christopher Walken during Thanksgiving weekend of 1981. The night of Nov. 28, the boat anchored for a dinner at Doug's Harbor Reef in Catalina, but the trio then returned to the yacht for drinks. Wagner and Walken argued, ostensibly about the conflict between one's personal life and your career.

Wagner later discovered his wife was missing and her body was found the next morning in what the authorities ruled as a case of accidental drowning.

Now ship captain Dennis Davern says he lied to investigators all those years ago, and points the finger at Wagner, who he said was arguing with Wood. However, he also told TMZ he was drunk on the night in question and has gone on such a spree of public testimony that there are questions about his motives.

For his part, Nelson has been contacted by the police, and has also begun to soak in the attention of the moment. Nelson bought the boat knowing its history and took the TV station on a tour of the famed vessel. He retold the story of what is believed to have happened – the supposed arguments involving  Wagner, Walken and Wood and the dinghy Wood may or may not have taken.

“It's a piece of history and it's not going to go away. It's been 30 years and it's as fresh as it was 30 years ago. Maybe even fresher, maybe more tantalizing now.”