The coroner’s office has amended Natalie Wood’s death certificate from accidental drowning to “drowning and other undetermined factors”, according to the Associated Press which obtained a copy of the certificate today. The amended document also now says that the circumstances of how Wood ended up in the waters off Catalina Island in November 1981 are “not clearly established.” Chief of Detectives William McSweeney tells the AP the decision to amend the death certificate was made by the coroner’s office, which has been instructed by detectives not to discuss the case. “I would just say undetermined is descriptive,” he said. The changes to the death certificate were approved by Los Angeles County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Lakshmanan Sathyavagiswaran in late June, according to the AP, but they were not formally recorded until August 1. The certificate wasn’t made public until just recently. The sheriff’s department reopened the Wood case last year, two weeks before the 30th anniversary of her death. Wood was on a yacht with her husband Robert Wagner and actor Christopher Walken the night of November 21, 1981 when she somehow got into the water and died. Her death at the time was ruled an accident, but there has been a lot of speculation ever since over whether there was more to the story. The captain of the boat, Dennis Davern, told authorities after the new investigation began that he was skeptical that her death was an accident and believed she may have been a victim of foul play. Wood’s body was discovered the next morning, November 22, 1981, about a mile from the yacht. Authorities have said Wagner is not a suspect in his wife’s death.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.