Three decades after Natalie Wood died, new details on her tragic death surface. On Monday, January 14, Los Angeles County Coroner's Office released explanations as to why it changed Wood's cause of death from "accidental drowning" to "drowning and other undetermined factors." The statement included re-opened questions of the bruises on the actress' body when she was found floating on Catalina Island in 1981.
"With the presence of fresh bruises in the upper extremities in the right forearm/left wrist area and a small scratch in the anterior neck, this examiner is unable to exclude non-accidental mechanism causing these injuries," chief medical examiner Dr. Lakshmanan Sathyavagiswaran wrote in the report.
"The location of the bruises, the multiplicity of the bruises, lack of head trauma, or facial bruising support bruising having occurred prior to entry in the water. Since there are unanswered questions and limited additional evidence available for evaluation, it is opined by this medical examiner that the manner of death should be left as undetermined."
The revised report also stated that based on some factors, including the lack of a life jacket and a suicide note, "this Medical Examiner is unable to exclude non-volitional, unplanned entry into the water." It added, "How injury occurred will be listed as found floating in the ocean. Circumstances not clearly established."
Natalie Wood passed away on November 29, 1981 at the age of 43. At the time before her death, she was inviting her "Brainstorm" co-star Christopher Walken to a party aboard a yacht on a Thanksgiving weekend.
According to her husband Robert Wagner, the "Splendor in the Grass" actress fell off their 60-foot-long Splendour yacht, while trying to re-tie a dinghy that had been banging against the side of the boat and disturbing her sleep. Dressed in a flannel nightgown, socks and a down jacket, her body was found floating about a mile from the yacht, according to police reports.
Her autopsy report was revised last year, but details on the new report, which was dated June 15, 2012, were not published until this Monday. L.A. County Sheriff's Department spokesperson, Steve Whitmore, said that Wood's case was "open and ongoing; nothing definitive has closed it," adding that Wood's widower was not cited as a suspect.