During a shocking Sept. 26 tell-all interview with Megyn Kelly on TODAY, The Splendor's captain, Dennis Davern, admitted he now firmly believes Robert Wagner was responsible for his wife Natalie Wood's mysterious drowning death — and he has evidence to prove it.
As RadarOnline.com has extensively reported, Wood drowned to death during a yacht trip with Wagner and pal Christopher Walken in 1981. While her demise was initially ruled an accident, shocking claims caused investigators to reopen the case, and name her husband a person of interest.
But while Wagner has always claimed Wood slipped and fell into the water before anyone could help her, Davern says the story seems unlikely since the famous couple had been arguing and drinking all day — up until the moment the actress vanished.
On that night, immediately after Wood went overboard, Wagner reportedly gathered Walken and Davern to tell them that his wife had fallen and died, and "this will be our story."
"Originally, I did back that story," Davern told Kelly, 47, explaining that he was in a "fog" at the time, because they had been drinking.
"I didn't know exactly what the actually story was because I was so devastated at that time and I had so much respect for him. I was more in belief of what I was saying at that time," explained the captain.
Davern said that he continued to avoid the case and kept working for Wagner for years after Wood's drowning. Eventually, however, it all became very clear.
While he didn't see Wood fall into the water, he did hear her and Wagner having a heated argument inside their cabin.
"We had been ashore and had dinner, and when we had returned to the boat that night after dinner, this horrible, horrible fight broke out," said Davern. "The jealousy was building up through the weekend."
Davern claimed Wagner was "jealous of Christopher and Natalie," because he believed they were having some kind of affair behind his back.
"The jealousy was building and building and building, and when we got back to the boat the jealousy was so bad that Robert Wagner had taken a wine bottle and smashed it on the table," he said.
As RadarOnline.com reported, Wagner has changed his story about the wine bottle various times, eventually saying that he was having an argument with Wood, but he absolutely did not push her off the yacht.
Recalling the events of the night, Davern said Walken went to his room to avoid the fight, while Wagner and Wood went down to theirs. Their door was closed, so Davern couldn't see anything that was going on, but the sound of their yelling was horrifying.
Soon, Wood was in the water and the chaos began.
"I did have doubts but I didn't want to let myself believe that," said Davern, recalling the moment Wagner told him Wood had accidentally fallen into the water.
In the years that followed, Davern continued working for Wagner, but was essentially held hostage. During the day, he worked on the set of Wagner's show, Heart To Heart. His was escorted everywhere by Wagner's driver, and he was locked into his room every night after dusk.
It was then that Davern began putting all the pieces together and realized Wagner likely murdered his own wife out of jealousy.
Wagner has long denied the claims, and he once accused Davern of being a "despicable human being" and "capitalizing on the death of a beloved Wagner family member."
The captain, however, took a polygraph test after coming forward with his story, and passed with flying colors.
The investigation into Natalie Wood's death is still ongoing.
For more on the actress' death, listen to acclaimed new podcast Fatal Voyage: The Mysterious Death of Natalie Wood, now available on iTunes.
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