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article imageCoroner amends Natalie Wood's death certificate

By Layne Weiss     Aug 23, 2012 in Entertainment
Los Angeles - Actress Natalie Wood's death certificate has been amended to show some of the questions surrounding her mysterious death in 1981. The certificate now says Wood's cause of death was "drowning and other undetermined factors," The Associated Press reports.
The amended document also now reads that the circumstances of how Wood ended up in the water are "not clearly established."
Wood drowned during a boat trip on the Catalina waters with husband, Robert Wagner, and their friend, actor Christopher Walken. At the time, the death was ruled an accident, BBC News reports.
Wood had been drinking the night before her death, so at the time it wasn't crazy for the coroner's office to assume that maybe she got too drunk and slipped off the yacht.
Police reopened the investigation last year, however, after receiving new evidence.
The captain of the yacht, Dennis Davern, had come forward to reveal that Wood and Wagner had been fighting, and that Robert Wagner was responsible for his wife's death.
Natalie Wood's sister, Lana also said she never believed Wagner's version of what happened to Natalie.
Lana told TMZ she felt that Robert wasn't totally honest with the cops when they interviewed him about Natalie's death.
She also said that the story about her sister trying to secure a dinghy and falling overboard as a result was simply untrue as Natalie was terrified of water. Lana said Natalie wouldn't even go in her pool.
In his book Pieces of My Heart, Robert Wagner acknowledged that he had indeed fought with Wood before her tragic disappearance, BBC News reports.
According to Reuters, however, Wagner, now 82, is not considered a suspect.
Wood's body was found floating in the waters off Catalina. According to police, she was wearing a nightgown, socks, and a jacket, BBC News reports.
Chief of Detectives William McSweeney said the decision to change Natalie Wood's death certificate was ultimately made by the Los Angeles coroners office, The AP reports.
McSweeney also said that detectives were still working on the case, and have instructed the coroner's office to remain tight-lipped. He said he considers "undetermined" to be "descriptive" enough for the time being.
A spokesman for the coroner's office said the sheriff's department had placed a "security hold" on the case, Reuters reports.
"We don't want any misinformation going out," sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore explained.
According to The AP, the changes to the death certificate were approved by LA County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Lakshmanan Sathyavagiswaran in late June, but nothing was formally recorded until August 1.
The announcement to reopen the investigation was announced nearly 30 years after the Oscar winning actress' untimely death at age 43.
Natalie Wood played Maria in the 20th century version of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet,1961's West Side Story.
As a child, she starred in the Christmas classic, Miracle On 34th Street.
As a teenager, she was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in Rebel Without a Cause opposite late actor James Dean.
She was later nominated for the Oscar for Lead Actress for Splendor In The Grass and Love With the Proper Stranger.
More about natalie wood, Mysterious death, robert wagne, christopher walken, la coroner's office
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