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Natalie Wood witness says she heard 'Help me, I'm drowning'

Natalie Wood witness Marilyn Wayne heard 'a woman's voice crying for help,' on the night of Nov. 28, 1981. Ms. Wayne is the first new Natalie Wood witness to emerge since the investigation was reopened Friday.

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In an interview with NBC's "Today" show on Friday, "Splendour" captain Dennis Davern said Wagner fought with Wood in the hours before she went missing and showed little interest in trying to find her.

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Davern, who co-wrote a 2010 book, "Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour," about Wood's drowning, told the show that he made "terrible decisions, terrible mistakes" at the time and lied on a police report.

Asked by an interviewer if he considered Wagner responsible for her death, he said: "Yes, I would say so. Yes."

Wood, who had spent the night before her death dining and drinking with Davern, Wagner and her "Brainstorm" co-star Christopher Walken, was said to have a lifelong fear of drowning and dark water.

A spokesman for Wagner has said in a statement that the actor's family had not been contacted by the sheriff's officials but "fully supports" the department's efforts.

The family members trust that the sheriff's department "will evaluate whether any new information relating to the death of Natalie Wood Wagner is valid and that it comes from a credible source or sources, other than those simply trying to profit from the 30-year anniversary of her tragic death," spokesman Alan Nierob said in the statement.

The opening of the new investigation coincides with a TV special airing Saturday on the CBS-TV news show "48 Hours," which in conjunction with Vanity Fair magazine purports to have new findings which "make it clear that there was reason to reopen the case," Vanity Fair said in a statement.

The TV special, called "Vanity Fair: Hollywood Scandal" is based on revelations first reported in a 2000 article in the magazine that is being republished this week in a special edition. Vanity fair said "everything seemed to come together at once."

Wood, who was born Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko to Russian immigrant parents in San Francisco, appeared as a child in such films as the Christmas classic "Miracle on 34th Street" and "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir."

She was nominated for a best supporting actress Academy Award as a teenager for her role opposite screen legend James Dean in the classic 1955 film "Rebel Without a Cause."

Wood was also nominated twice for best actress Oscars, for parts in the 1961 film "Splendor in the Grass" and "Love with the Proper Stranger" two years later. She never won the award.

(Editing by Greg McCune)

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