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Natalie Wood: Captain wanted ‘truth to come out,’ neighbor says

November 18, 2011 |  3:41 pm

Dennis DavernThe yacht captain at the center of the Natalie Wood death investigation reportedly broke down in tears as he spoke to his neighborhood book club, saying he felt guilty for not coming forward sooner.

Nancy D'Agati , 66, of St. Augustine, Fla., said Dennis Davern was surprisingly credible when he agreed to visit her book club of about 10 women shortly after his experience was published in the book, "Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour."

"We were all dumbfounded because he was sobbing," D'Agati said in an interview with The Times. "I know he's not going to seem credible, but that part rang true. He was so emotional. He said he really loved Natalie Wood –- like a friend, like a good person."

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"I could be way off base, but every single one of us said, 'Do you believe him?' And we all said, 'Yeah, he really feels this.' … He comes across as a little odd, but the thing is, you can't fake that. And why would you in front of a bunch of women?"

Agati said she has lived several houses away from Davern for the last five years. He lives modestly in the gated community, with a job and a family, she said.

After his book was published in 2009, D'Agati's group invited him to come speak. He agreed and helped arrange to have author Marti Rulli on the phone, she said.

"We didn't know what to expect," she said. "Once he got on a roll, he had a meltdown."

She said he recounted the same events described in the book, including the fight between Wood and her husband, Robert Wagner.

"He seemed racked with guilt because he didn't come forward, because he didn't do enough," D'Agati said. "He wanted the truth to come out, but he was afraid."


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-- Kimi Yoshino

Photo: Dennis Davern. Credit: Associated Press