The circumstances surrounding the death of Natalie Wood have remained in question for decades, but details have surfaced as to why the Los Angeles County Coroner changed her cause of death from accidental to undetermined.
On Jan. 14, 2013, the 2012 coroner’s report was released that reveals the finding that led to the death certificate revision.
View slideshow: Photos of Natalie Wood Over the Years
“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,” Dr. Lakshmanan Sathyavagiswaran wrote in his report, according to CNN.
He continued, “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 undertermined.”
Dr. Sathyavagiswaran also found that due to the lack of a suicide note and the fact Wood was not wearing a life jacket, he was “…unable to exclude non-volitional, unplanned entry into the water.”
In Nov. 2011, after receiving new information regarding the Nov. 29, 1981 drowning death of the actress, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Dept. reopened the investigation into the incident.
Wood, 43, died after partying on Thanksgiving weekend with her husband actor Robert Wagner and Christopher Walken, with whom she starred in the film “Brainstorm.” At the time, the coroner ruled Wood's death an accident, saying she was drunk and trying to secure a dinghy that was hitting the hull when she slipped and fell into the water – dressed only in a jacket and nightgown. The autopsy report also indicated Woods had 24 bruises on her body, including an abrasion on her left cheek.
Marti Rulli, who co-authored a book with Dennis Davern, the former captain of Wood's yacht – the Splendour – said during an interview that Davern told her the night Wood died, a terrible fight took place on the boat. Davern claims that Wagner believed Walken was attracted to Wood and became jealous.
Anyone with information regarding the case is urged to call Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Homicide Lt. Corina at 323-890-5641.