A new coroner's report on the death of Natalie Wood suggests the "West Side Story" actress may have been attacked before she drowned during a boat trip in Southern California over 30 years ago.
Natalie Wood died on November 28, 1981 while on a boat trip with her husband, actor Robert Wagner and their friend, actor Christopher Walken. The circumstances surrounding her death are extremely mysterious, but she somehow ended up in the water and drowned.
The actress' death was originally ruled to be an "accidental drowning," but in 2011, the LA County Sheriff's Office reopened the case after the skipper of the boat, Dennis Davern, co-authored the book, Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour.
Davern recalled hearing arguing between Robert Wagner and Christopher Walken, and he said after Natalie Wood went to bed, he heard sounds of a struggle coming from her cabin, CBS News reports. He also said Wagner waited "hours" after Wood went missing to call for help.
It is nearly impossible to determine if Robert Wagner "waited" on purpose because according to a new report released Monday, there are conflicting statements about when he and the other people on the boat discovered Natalie Wood was missing, The Associated Press reports. The report estimates Natalie died around midnight and was reported missing at 1:30 am.
Last summer, the LA County coroner amended Natalie Wood's official cause of death from "accidental drowning" to "drowning and other undetermined factors."
On Monday, coroner's officials wrote that bruises found on Natalie's body may have occurred before she ended up in the water, but they could not be sure, The Associated Press reports. The cause of her death of her death cannot be changed.
In his 2008 memoir, Pieces of My Heart, Robert Wagner recounted "blaming" himself for Natalie's death as that night, he went to bed and noticed she wasn't "there." He thought it was "strange." He then noticed a dinghy missing, which he thought to be "stranger." He wondered if maybe she had taken it, but he knew she was deathly terrified of dark water.
"I radioed for the shore boat and went back to the restaurant. Natalie wasn't there. Neither was the dinghy," Wagner wrote.
"It was about 1:30 am. I was scared and confused...."