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Dennis Davern was an unreliable witness in the case, due to the fact that it took him years to come forward with his side of the story and he also released bits of information to tabloids.
Before we get into the theories, establishing the timeline is necessary.
Don Whiting, who was the night manager of Reef, arrived at 4:00–5:00 PM and the Wagner party was already there. They eventually stayed until 10:00–10:30 PM.
The group was intoxicated so Whiting called Kurt Craig who was part of the harbor patrol to make sure they returned to their yacht safely and they did.
The last moment Wagner allegedly saw his wife was at 11:45 PM and when she went missing, he placed a radio call.
Natalie was found 200 yards from the Blue Cave Point. Don Whiting was part of the search that located the dinghy and claimed the key was in the ignition, in off-position, and the gear was in neutral.
What was weird was that Davern identified the body, even though it really should've been Wagner because he was the husband.
According to the autopsy report conducted Dr. Joseph Choi, the deputy medical examiner, Dr. Ronald Kornblum, another deputy medical examiner, and Dr. Thomas Noguchi who was the chief medical examiner/coroner, the reports claim that everything was normal except for white froth and liquid found in her lungs, which is normal with drowning, and mild-moderate congestion in her meninges, and also showed congested temporal bone.
This Brings Us to Theory Two: Accidental Death
A blood alcohol level of 0.14, where there is a possibility of nausea and vomiting while impairment, includes reflexes, staggering, and gross motor control. Her behavior may have appeared to be boisterous, which is cheery and wild.
Wagner and Wood had an argument which led to an anger-outburst of Wagner. Wagner is shown to have some anger issues based on the broken pieces of the wine bottle on the yacht salon.
Wood tried to escape Wagner and appeared to find the dinghy and had no choice but to escape by it. She jumped on to the dinghy and untied the rope as fast as she could've and turned on the engine, which we assume was in the ignition.
When she was a few feet away, she tried to scream for help, to which Wagner replied, "Alright, honey, we'll come and get you."
There were strong waves at the time so the dinghy was not steady. Wood might've fallen down and hit the sides of her cheek and sustained bruises when she attempted to stand back up, she had fallen out of the dinghy and into the ocean.
There were scratch-marks found on the side of the dinghy, implying that she had attempted to get back in.
But the dinghy was in neutral and the engine not on. Perhaps Natalie had learned how to control the dinghy sometime before from Davern, whom she was close with.
From the autopsy reports, neuropathology report from Dr. Hideo Itabashi said there was no evidence of hemorrhagic staining.
Microscopic result by Dr. Joseph Choi reports that the bruises on the right forearm and on the left ankle are fresh.
The toxicological report states that in her liver, there were traces of bases and Phenothiazine, a form of anti-psychotics that includes the side-effects of having the inability to stay still and complications may lead to suicide.
In her blood, there was 0.07 mg of propoxyphene, which is an analgesic-pain killer and was found to be useful to those with restless legs syndrome which could be triggered by anti-psychotics.
Theory Three: Suicide and Christopher Walken
*This theory is based entirely on conjecture and could be inaccurate.
On the autopsy report, the drowning was officially listed as accidental drowning, before it was changed to drowning with undetermined factors in 2011 when the reports were re-examined.
There was propoxyphene found in her system, and the drug is known to also have dangerous side-effects if taken with Valium or consumed with a large amount of alcohol.
Valium was on her prescription of pills she took every day but wasn't in her toxicology reports, but alcohol was.
So there was a fight that broke out between Wagner, Walken, and Wood. Davern also heard the fight and claims that he heard Wagner say, "Jesus, what are you trying to do, f**k my wife?"
Walken took Wood outside to calm down and may have decided to board the dinghy and go onshore in order for Wagner to calm down and not do anything destructive or anything that could hurt them.
During the process, Natalie started having a seizure and due to her position in the dinghy, she fell backward and hit the water.
This theory is the least credible of them all. Walken may have done it, but the story above just doesn't make sense. There are other factors that I believe may make Walken the main suspect, or at least somewhat involved.
It is known that Walken cared about his career more than anything else and he even tried to convince Wood to do the same, which allegedly was the starting point of their argument.
If Walken did know something, he held it back and kept it to himself because he was concerned that it may affect and shorten his acting career.
Walken also hired a lawyer when the case was reopened in 2011.
Was he careful? Or did he have something to hide?
Well, could all of this be debunked when it was claimed that the autopsy reports in 1981 were faked?