Natalie Wood Death: Coroner Issues New Report
One of the most enduring Hollywood mysteries remains unsolved but somewhat altered.
News came out this Monday afternoon that the Los Angeles Coroner's Office has changed Natalie Wood's cause of death from "accidental drowning" to "drowning and other undetermined factors."
In a 10-page addendum to the original autopsy report, the coroner suggests that due to the freshness of her injuries on her upper body, Wood may have been involved in a physical altercation on her yacht Splendour before she was in the water: "Location of the bruises, the multiplicity of the bruises, lack of head trauma, or facial bruising support bruising having occurred prior to the entry into water."
The report adds: "This medical examiner is unable to exclude non-volitional, unplanned entry into the water."
Along with the boat's captain, Wood was with her husband Robert Wagner and fellow co-star Christopher Walken the night she died off the waters of Catalina Island in November 1981. Wearing only a nightgown and a down coat, the Rebel Without a Cause actress was found dead, floating near a dingy that had been originally attached to the yacht. When various items from the original case were being reexamined by investigators in 2012, the dingy could not be found.
Although Wagner and Walken have conflicting versions of what happened the night of Wood's death (eye witnesses claim the entire party was heavily intoxicated that evening), the captain of Splendour, Dennis Davern, accused Wagner in 2011 for being "responsible" for her death. The Los Angeles Police Department, however, stated that the actor was not considered a suspect. Davern was co-author of the book Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour (2009).
Considering the limited resources and unanswered questions available to the medical examiner, investigators have stated that Wood's death will be categorized as "undetermined."
And so this mysterious Hollywood tragedy continues. But what say you? Do you think Wood's death was an accident?
Film Actor, Television Actor, Television Personality / 1930 -
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