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Robert Wagner: Suspect in Natalie Wood death in media speculation only

By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com
Actor Robert Wagner (R) and his daughter Katie Wagner attend the TCM Classic Film Festival opening night premiere of the 40th anniversary restoration of the motion picture musical drama "Cabaret", at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles on April 12, 2012. UPI/Jim Ruymen
Actor Robert Wagner (R) and his daughter Katie Wagner attend the TCM Classic Film Festival opening night premiere of the 40th anniversary restoration of the motion picture musical drama "Cabaret", at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles on April 12, 2012. UPI/Jim Ruymen | License Photo

Robert Wagner, the actor and husband of the late Natalie Wood, is not a suspect in his wife's mysterious death, at least not in the eyes of investigators.

Reporters asked the Los Angeles County Sheriff put any speculation to rest with a direct and unequivocal response when asked Friday if Wagner would be investigated in the newly reopened case of his wife's death.

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"No," Lt. John Carina said at a Los Angeles press conference, in which the Sheriff's office officially confirmed the re-opening of the investigation.

Wagner, through a statement made by his lawyer, the 82-year-old actor said he would not speak to detectives or involve himself in the investigation, as he felt he had already answered any questions they might have.

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"Mr. Wagner has fully co-operated over the last 30 years in the investigation of the accidental drowning of his wife," said Brian Berk, Wagner's lawyer. Wagner, Berk said, had been "interviewed on multiple occasions by the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department and answered every single question asked of him by detectives during those interviews."

Wood drowned after falling overboard Wagner's boat off on Nov. 29, 1981, near Catalina Island off the coast of Southern California.

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Until last July, the official coroner's report said that her death was "accidental," but was changed it to "undetermined" to reflect uncertainty over bruises and scratches on her body that may have happened before she went into the water.

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She and Wagner, along with the ship's captain and actor Christopher Walken were aboard the vessel and had been drinking and arguing late into the night.

The 43-year-old West Side Story actress went up to the master's cabin to go to bed around midnight, and wasn't seen again until her body was found floating 200 yards away from the shore.

The captain, Dennis Davern, reignited suspicion on Wagner when he told a television program he had overheard Wood and Wagner arguing before she died and he believed Wagner was to blame.

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Wagner has consistently maintained his innocence, saying he heard nothing and only realized she was missing until 1:30 a.m., at which point he raised the alarm.

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