Natalie Wood's Bruises, Scratches May Have Come Before Her 'Undetermined' Death
The actress may have been injured before she entered the ocean and drowned, a new report says
Natalie Wood’s bruises and scratches on her arm, wrist and neck may have been suffered before she entered the ocean off Catalina Island and drowned in 1981, the Los Angeles County Coroner now says in a newly revised autopsy report.
The coroner’s supplemental report is more verbose than the original report, and it details what the Sheriff’s Department learned in the new inquiry that it announced over a year ago, reigniting speculation that her death was no accident.
But the report stops short of saying Wood’s drowning wasn’t accidental, instead offering the revised finding of “drowning and other undetermined factors” and revising the manner of death.
“Since there are many 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 report says.
The report also says it’s unclear whether Wood fell off the boat or was pushed. Some of these findings were announced earlier, but the full report, including details about the injuries to Wood’s body, was released Monday.
It was not immediately known if there will be some other action or finding by county investigators, or if this new report, which raises more questions than it answers, is their final act.
Shortly after the case was reopened, a county sheriff’s spokesman said Woods’s twice-wed husband Robert Wagner was not a suspect.
The case was reopened after Dennis Davern, captain of Wagner’s 60-ft. yacht, stepped forward to say that Wood disappeared from the boat after she and Wagner had what sounded like an explosive fight in which Wagner allegedly shouted “Get off my f—— boat!”
But even Davern was ambiguous in his disclosure, telling the Today Show during a plug of his new book that he thought Wagner was responsible for Wood’s death and that Wagner delayed searching for his wife or alerting authorities, but then telling PEOPLE, “I really can’t say that I would think that he is responsible.”
In the new report, county officials say there were “conflicting statements” as to whether Wood and Wagner argued and when Wood went missing, but what is clear is that the distress call from Wagner’s boat, at 1:30 a.m. on Nov. 29, came approximately an hour and-a-half after the time Wood was believed to have died.