Lana Wood on CNN: `I don’t think Natalie fell’

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LOS ANGELES (AP) - Natalie Wood’s sister says she doesn’t believe the actress fell from a boat into the sea off Southern California’s Santa Catalina Island where she drowned nearly 30 years ago.

Lana Wood tells CNN’s Piers Morgan in an interview Friday that she has spoken several times with the boat’s captain Dennis Davern and he has told her that Natalie Wood’s husband Robert Wagner was involved in her plunge into the sea on Nov. 29, 1981. But Lana Wood said she does not believe that whatever happened was deliberate.

Lana Wood made her comments hours after a Los Angeles County sheriff’s detective stressed at a news conference that Wagner is not a suspect in the death of his wife, even though the investigation has been re-opened.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

Actor Robert Wagner is not a suspect in the 30-year-old drowning of his actress wife, Natalie Wood, and there is nothing to indicate a crime, even though the investigation has been re-opened, a sheriff’s detective said Friday.

“Her death was an accident, an accidental drowning,” said Sheriff’s Lt. John Corina.

Officials would not say why they were taking another look at the case, although the captain of the boat where the couple had stayed blamed Wagner for Wood’s death.

There have always been questions about Wood’s death on Nov. 29, 1981, with renewed attention on the case as the anniversary neared. The case’s re-opening and a public call for information are the first hint that the official account may need revision.

Within hours of the announcement, Corina said, several people emerged offering their recollections of what happened in the waters off Southern California’s Santa Catalina Island.

But he quickly noted that nothing the agency has received so far has prompted it to change the view that there was no foul play.

The boat’s captain, Dennis Davern, said Friday on NBC’s “Today” show that he lied to investigators about events on the yacht Splendour when he was interviewed after Wood’s death.

Davern accused Wagner of having a fight with Wood before she went missing and delaying the search for her after she disappeared.

Wagner’s family released a statement through a spokesman that said they trusted detectives to evaluate any new information and determine whether it came from “a credible source or sources other than those simply trying to profit from the 30-year anniversary of her tragic death.”

It did not mention Davern by name, and noted that detectives hadn’t contacted Wagner or his family.

On the show, Davern mentioned a book he co-wrote last year on Wood’s death, but refused to say precisely why he blamed Wagner for the three-time Oscar nominee’s death. Davern also denied that he was seeking to profit from interest in the case.

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