Accident Or Murder?: We Track Down The Man Who Found Natalie Wood’s Body

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.





  • Marisol Rodriguez

    I do not believe Natalies dealth was an accident,I always thought something was fishy,how she died.Something tells me,there was a fight and in the event ,she eighter was pushed or fell while in the company of someone and since it was so dark at night,the person responceable was scare and made no effort in finding her,something,like that.That night she had too much to drink and no way,that she try to take the dingy to the Island,first of all she was scare of water if she fell in,cause I believe she could not swim.And when someone has had too much to drink,All they want to do is to go to sleep. I think they is more to this story of how she died.She was a wonderful mother to her children,talented and beautiful,After all these years I could not believe the way she die.Well, I could be wrong,but it just bothers me too much.

  • smiley

    What may have started out as an accident, turned into cold blooded murder when Wagner and the Captain, and Walken, ignored her cries for help. It’s obviously that the Captain and Wagner let her drown. And that the DA of LA has made a deal with the Captain granting him immunity. Three witness’s heard her crying for help from away. If they heard her, I’m positive as hell that those 3 men on board heard her too. Put me on a jury, and I would be willing to convict Wagner and the Captain, at least these two, of some form of murder. “Don’t turn the search light on,” said the Captain, when question about Wagner.
    Trust me, LA homicide has good new evidence . . . which I’m sure is causing Wagner some sleepless nights.

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