For anyone who has read Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour, the big “reveal” from last night’s updated repeat of a CBS News/Vanity Fair 48 Hours investigation into the re-opening of the Natalie Wood drowning investigation was already well familiar.
In chapters 32 and 34, author Marti Rulli writes that she encouraged Splendour captain Dennis Davern to call Wood’s younger sister Lana in 1992. During these conversations, Davern speculated about different possible scenarios involving Natalie’s final moments on the boat with Robert Wagner. Ten years later, Lana revisited these talks with Suzanne Finstad, author of the 2001 biography Natasha, with a taped excerpt of that conversation showcased on last night’s program.
There were two problems with this. One, 48 Hours made no mention of the wealth of related information in Rulli’s book. Two, the show misleadingly framed the Wood-Finstad audio as “Davern told her [Lana] he saw what happened to her sister.” Even though Lana is next heard saying that Davern “said it appeared to him…” (in the non-literal sense). From Rulli’s book:
Suzanne informed me that Dennis, years ago, had corroborated to Lana part of the Marilyn Wayne and John Payne account – that in fact Natalie was in the water crying for help as R.J. argued with her. She said Dennis had told Lana that R.J. “might have” pushed Natalie into the water and that R.J. decided to teach Natalie a lesson by not helping – taunting her when she was in the water.