Monday, February 5, 2018

Robert Wagner: 2nd Statement Analyzed

The original statement by Robert Wagner confirmed the findings of investigators:  he was deceptively withholding information.

Here, media has given us two statements made shortly after Natalie Wood's death.  What do the statements show?

We reached the boat in a happy frame of mind after spending a few hours at the restaurant eating and drinking. During dinner, I got into a political debate with Walken and we continued it aboard the yacht. There was no fight, no anger. Just a lot of words thrown around like you hear in most political discussions such as “you don’t know what you are talking about!” Natalie sat there not saying much of anything and looking bored. She left us after about a half hour, and we sat there talking for almost another hour. Then I went to kiss her good night, and found her missing.

I previously noted that in Wagner's perception of the relationship, it was unlikely that he premeditated the death:  that is, prior to sailing, although there were problems in the marriage and Wood had a deep fear of water, he did not intend to murder her. 

The pronoun "we" is very powerful, and application of advanced analysis suggests that Wagner may have even recognized that he was ultimately responsible, not for her death, but for the altercation's genesis:  why they fought. 

Regarding "what happened", note how early Wagner feels the need to begin the account:

"We reached the boat in a happy frame of mind after spending a few hours at the restaurant eating and drinking."

This is to say, within analysis, her death began before she boarded the yacht. 

This is not reality but his verbalized perception of it. 

1.  The death began in the hours before. 
2.  He introduces alcohol into the event 
3.  He has a need to portray the time period as "happy", which is unnecessary to report, unless, of course, it is necessary for him.  The emotional state should be immaterial in an accidental death, but knowing the context, we continue to listen to his need to portray. 

He now introduces a new element of emotion.  "We" and "happy frame" is now countered: 

During dinner, I got into a political debate with Walken and we continued it aboard the yacht. 

He goes back in time, breaking naturally chronology, of which our memory works.  This is an example of one who is now artificially editing the account of what happened, in order to complete his portrait of what police commonly call, "story telling."

Keep in mind that even "story telling" relies upon technically truthful elements rather than provoke the stress of direct deception. 

It also slows down the pace of "what happened" to his wife. 

Note "I" and "Walken" are separated by the word "with", which indicates distance.  Contextually, we may conclude that the political debate created this distance yet, something produced unity ("we") when the debate took to the yacht. 

This is a key point in the interview of Walken:  perception of the discussion. 

Are we to believe that the distance of a debate suddenly created unity as the debate, itself, continued on the yacht?

This, too, suggests not only artificial editing, but that something created unity.  Was "we" meaning he and Walken?  Or did it now include Wood?  

It is "incongruent" and must be explored.  

*Was something said between Wagner and Walken specifically about Natalie Wood that would be positive to the hearing of Wagner?

Wagner goes on to theorize about how Wood had gotten into the water:
It was only after I was told that she was dressed in a sleeping gown, heavy socks, and a parka that it dawned on me what had really occurred.

This shows the same need to slow down the pace and distance himself from the victim. 

"Only after" is a phrase that not only indicates the element of timing as very sensitive to him, but at the exclusion of all else. 

This is unnecessary to state. 

"Only" is a dependent word; that is, it only "works" when someone is thinking of at least one other thing.  "Only" is now put with "after" (time) which seeks to compare this time period with something else. 

If I say, "this car for sale is "only" $20,000", I am using the word "only" to trigger the recipient audience into thinking of a greater number than $20,000.  

Wagner is preempting a claim of timing (when) something happened.  It continues:

"I was told" avoids telling us who told him (passive).  

With timing so very sensitive to him, he says:

"that it dawned on me what had really occurred."

Not only is he slowing down the pace, he doubles up on it with the word "dawned", which is to come to knowledge within the passing of time.  This doubles down on "time" for him.  

The distancing he seeks to create is acute and within narrative building (story telling, editorializing). 

Natalie obviously had trouble sleeping with that dinghy slamming up against the boat. It happened many, many times before, and I had always gone out and pulled the ropes tighter to keep the dinghy flush against the yacht.

"obviously" is to take without question which we now identify as something he wants to pass unquestioned.  However we question everything. 

This is the "Normal" Factor.  He is telling us what "normally happens" rather than what happened.  

The "Normal Factor" in analysis suggests the need to portray, rather than truthful reporting. We hear it often in substance abusers. 

Why is it obvious?  Does the audience know Natalie's normal sleep issues when on this particular yacht?

This is "story telling." 

He also shows two things:

a.  What a good guy he is.  The "Good Guy" indicates awareness of being the "bad guy" or wrong doing.
b.  Allow for specific guilt.  Liars often reject A, B, and C, but gladly embrace D, just to appear truthful.  This is part of "Need for Portrait" 

Did you notice that he finally used her name? (see the previous statement where the victim's name is not used). 

Question:  What is the context of the victim being "Natalie"?

Answer:  The context of personalizing the victim is outside the scope of "what happened"; instead relying upon what she "normally" went through.  This is outside the time period of what happened.  In the time period, she was only a pronoun, not  

Note the need for detail: 

She probably skidded on one of the steps after untying the ropes. The steps are slick as ice because of the algae and seaweed that’s always clinging to them. After slipping on the steps, she hit her head against the boat. . . . I only hope she was unconscious when she hit the water.

Analysis Conclusion:

In the death of Natalie Wood, the subject, Robert Wagner, has a need to deceive investigators as to her cause of death. 

This is consistent with the first analysis and the findings of investigators. 

For training in deception detection, contact Hyatt Analysis Services.  


Eva said...

Dear Mr. Hyatt, would you consider making a post /an analysis on the case of Kimberly Ratliff? There are many indicators that her stepfather Les Kennedy was involved in the murder, but the case remains unsolved.
Here are many Details about the case:
In 2011, the Kimberly's stepfahter and her mother gave an interview.
Here are some peculiar quotes from the interview:
“She goes, ‘I did it. I’m the only one in the family,'” Joyce Kennedy said.

“Nobody has any idea how nasty our daughter died,” he (Les Kennedy) said.

Eva said...

Here is the Link to the 2011 Interview

Anonymous said...


ima.grandma said...

Thank you anon. It's a very interesting and applicable article. The hyperlinks lead to enlightening observations and studies. I'll be reading more on this topic.

Telling allegations:
The last expression I saw on her face [Wood's] was pure 'humiliation' as she stormed off to her stateroom," Davern also alleged.

Meanwhile, when Robert Wagner was questioned by a rescue boat captain, Roger Smith,  in 1981 about why he didn’t call for help to find his missing wife, he allegedly said: ‘We thought she was off on another boat screwing around because that’s the kind of woman she is.’

Bobcat said...

I wish I could listen to original statements, because I'm always wondering if the first transcriber heard everything.

ima.grandma said...

FYI: Bobcat
Aug 27, 2015 @ 4:06AM
Famed lie detection expert Michael Sylvestre used a special truth-detecting device to scrutinize a series of confessions made by the Hart to Hart star about his role in his wife’s grisly death off Catalina Island, Calif., in 1981.

Sylvestre, a certified voice-stress analyst, fed tapes of Wagner’s confessions about what happened that fateful night into the DecepTech Voice Stress Analysis Machine — a computerized version of the famed Psychological Stress Evaluation.

The tool, used by more than 50 law-enforcement agencies in the U.S. and others overseas, detects stress changes that indicate truthfulness, which show up as waves on the report.

The newest high-tech test is also said to be superior to a conventional polygraph, and is renowned for providing impressive results.

After completing his analysis of two separate interviews, Sylvestre said he believes Wagner may have fudged the truth about Woods’ death “over and over again.”

“His test results are riddled with stress,” Sylvestre told Radar, suggesting that he may have been trying “to cover up something.”

The materials for the analysis came from two interviews by the Hollywood megastar.

Sylvestre first analyzed an interview Wagner did with *****Internet radio show “Growing Bolder” in late 2009*****to promote his memoir, Pieces of My Heart. Referring to his wife’s tragic and violent death, the actor declared, “It was, uh, an accident that happened.”

******Bobcat, here is the actual link to the radio show. ******* good luck :)

Sylvestre noted, “On the word ‘uh’ his stress level is almost off the charts.”

Wagner also said, “She slipped on the [swim] step of the boat.”

Sylvestre said, “There’s a lot of stress in the word ‘slipped,’ and that [likely] means the whole statement is false. [That] she didn’t slip, something untoward happened.”

At another point, Wagner said, “See, none of us ever heard anything. If we had heard something we would have done something.”

Sylvestre noted, “There are multiple peaks, especially in the word ‘none.'”

Sylvestre told Radar he believes, “He definitely heard something.”

But Sylvestre said, “Once again, there’s a lot of stress,” which calls into question Wagner’s account, he believes.

In another section of the interview, Wagner spoke about dating his current wife, Jill St. John, after Wood’s death.

Sylvestre charged, “When he said they ‘started going out’ there’s a lot of stress in that statement. You would expect him to be pretty calm here. Something isn’t right.”

“This could indicate that he may have been seeing her beforehand and that they were in a relationship,” added Sylvestre.

When quizzed if he “never doubted that Natalie was his soulmate,” Wagner responded, “That’s true. I think that it’s true.”

But, countered Sylvestre, “In my opinion this was not a tremendous love.”

Concluded Sylvestre, “Robert Wagner’s goose may be cooked.”

ima.grandma said...

Another one for you if you're interested Bobcat:

The interview, conducted by his daughter Katie Wagner, was posted on YouTube on March 19, 2009, and is titled, “The Friends of the Mission Viejo Library present Robert Wagner.”

Talking about Natalie, Wagner said: “We had a partnership. We were very much in love.
As most of you know, she, we, she had an accident on our boat and she died and we were all left without her.” 

Bobcat said...

Thanks, grandma.

ima.grandma said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Foolsfeedonfolly said...

"During dinner, I got into a political debate with Walken and we continued it aboard the yacht. There was no fight, no anger...."- Robert Wagner tells us what there isn't. He introduces the words fight and anger. We happen to have two sets of in-laws that relish political debates with opposing relatives at most family events (including a family member who loves to bait and instigate). We have yet to see a fight in 25 years. So, why does Robert Wagner need to inform the listener that there was no fight? He wants us to believe this "political debate", that was so intense and passionate that it began hours earlier in a restaurant during dinner, continued on the way to the yacht ("We reached the boat in a happy frame of mind...), and for an hour and a half on board the yacht wasn't angry?

He follows that up with "Just a lot of words thrown around like you hear in most political discussions such as “you don’t know what you are talking about!”- Words thrown around indicates an argument with reckless words. His use of the word "Just" is minimizing the extent of the argument. He's trying to persuade us that his interaction with Walken was "normal" with "Just a lot of words thrown around like you hear in most political discussions..." (a version of saying it was just a normal, average day in storytelling). He's wasted a lot of words trying to persuade his audience that they were all a happy, congenial, friendly lot, and what didn't happen when he's supposed to be telling us how his wife ended up missing and dead in the water. The "political debate" is very important to what happened to Natalie.

"Natalie sat there not saying much of anything looking bored."- Why does Natalie suddenly warrant a body position while the two men engaging in a not fighting, not angry "political debate" don't? Why does the debate, with "a lot of words thrown around", become talking once Natalie "left us"?

Foolsfeedonfolly said...

It's interesting that in the first statement he verbalizes Natalie hitting the deck, but in the second, she specifically hits her head. I wonder if he needed to account for the head injury after she was found and added it or if he needed to explain multiple injuries (bodily bruises) with a "fall" story. His second account sounds more like she was being pursued and trying to escape someone.

She probably skidded on one of the steps after untying the ropes. The steps are slick as ice because of the algae and seaweed that’s always clinging to them. After slipping on the steps, she hit her head against the boat. . . . I only hope she was unconscious when she hit the water."

That last sentence sounds an awful lot like guilty knowledge, burdened with remorse.

Bobcat said...

It sounds like they were all "happy" drunk.
Natalie left to go to bed, and was annoyed about "that" dinghy slamming up against the "boat" (It's only a "yacht" when Wagner is talking about "before" and earlier in the evening)

Perhaps Natalie asked Wagner to pull the ropes but he refused to help because he was busy talking to Walken. So Natalie put on her thick socks and parka to untie the dinghy altogether. Then she "probably" slipped on the steps, hit her head and rolled in.

Wagner says "I wasn't there. I wasn't there for her."

Is his sensitive language due to guilt because he didn't tighten the dinghy ropes like before, causing Natalie to have to do it? Is it guilt because he saw her slip and hit her head and didn't help her? What did he and Walken hear, but perhaps ignore, to continue talking instead?

ima.grandma said...


“Anybody there saw the logistics — of the boat, the night, where we were, that it was raining — and would know exactly what happened,” Walken told the magazine (and recently referenced in the Hollywood Reporter). “You hear about things happening to people — they slip in the bathtub, fall down the stairs, step off the curb in London because they think that the cars come the other way — and they die. You feel you want to die making an effort at something; you don’t want to die in some unnecessary way.”

'You hear, they slip, fall down, step off, they die'
'You feel, you want to die, you don't wan't to die'

Anonymous said...

"She left us after about a half hour,"

Is this when the altercation happened? "She left us" that when she fell (and or was pushed) and went over board?

"and we sat there talking for almost another hour."

And is this when they tried to figure out their alibi?


My opinion only with the limited knowledge of the event that I have at this point in time.