CATALINA (CBS) — So exactly what happened the night Natalie Wood died? CBS2 and KCAL9 reporter Randy Paige went to Catalina to get resident’s opinions about Wood’s mysterious death nearly thirty years ago. Accident or murder?
To a man, Paige says everyone he spoke to believes the actresses death was just an unfortunate accident.
While on the island, he also tracked down Doug Bombard, the man who found Wood’s body.
Reports Paige, “Natalie Wood drowned at Two Harbors, right at the isthmus of Catalina Island and when you go to that part of the island it’s like walking into a time machine.”
Thirty years may have passed but very little has changed in the harbor.
The moorings where Robert Wagner tied the Splendour are still there. The pier looks much the same.
The Harbor Reef Restaurant where the couple had their last meal together is still here, but back then it was called Doug’s Harbor Reef.
It was named after the aforementioned Doug Bombard, the man who found Natalie Wood’s body.
Says Bombard, “She was a beautiful woman…even in death.”
He told Paige he found Wood floating straight up and down in the water. Her bright red down jacket keeping her body from sinking.
“She was just hanging. Her feet were down…her face was down. Hair was all over… but, still a beautiful gal.”
Bombard said he faced Robert Wagner but he was already prepared to hear the worst. “When I broke the news to him…but I don’t think it was news,” says Bombard, “he looked down.”
The night she died, the couple dined at his restaurant and he says the champagne was flowing.”My assistant manager was seeing that they got out [of the restaurant]. To make sure they got on the boat okay. He thought…they had …plenty to do.”
He also said the water was rough that evening. And the dinghy was banging against the side of the boat.
Bombard theorizes, “I think she got up, to tie the dinghy … and she either slipped or maybe the dinghy pulled her and she went overboard there and she drowned.”
Bombard told Paige he was also convinced it was just all a tragic accident.