Natalie Wood death certificate altered to reflect new uncertainties

Mysterious death now officially involves “undetermined factors”

The mystery surrounding the death of actress Natalie Wood has taken another turn after her death certificate was changed to reflect “undetermined factors”.

Previously considered an accident by all involved, the case was re-opened nine months ago. It lead the coroner’s office to change Wood’s cause of death from “accidental drowning” to “drowning and other undetermined factors”.

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The Los Angeles county sheriff's chief of detectives, William McSweeney, said the change was “descriptive” but was adamant the change wasn’t reflecting new evidence in the case.

Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner (Credit: Rex)


“We don't close these cases,” he said. “These cases have active periods and more passive periods. We're moving toward the end of an active period."

Wood, who starred in ‘West Side Story’, ‘The Searchers’ and ‘Rebel Without a Cause’ was a three-time Oscar nominee and died in 1981 off the coast of southern California.

The actress was on a yacht with her husband Robert Wagner and their friend Christopher Walken shortly before her disappearance and subsequent death. Conflicting reports turned the death into one of Hollywood’s most compelling mysteries.

Investigators renewed their interest in the case after the yacht’s captain, Dennis Davern went on record as saying he had heard Wagner and Wood arguing on the night of her disappearance.

The original detective on the case, Wagner, Walken and until recently the coroner's office have all said they considered Natalie Wood’s death an accident.