More than three decades after her death, Natalie Wood’s final minutes are still a cause for controversy and a new report released Monday by the Los Angeles Coroner’s Office raises even more questions.
The report reveals the gorgeous actress had fresh bruises and scratches on one leg. That lends some credence to the theory that she was in a scuffle before falling into the water and drowning on Nov. 29, 1981.
Wood fell off a yacht and died, according her then-husband Robert Wagner. Christopher Walken, a friend of the couple’s, was also on the yacht and conflicting accounts of what happened have made Wood’s death in the Pacific Ocean an enduring mystery.
“A few day old bruises were on the back of [her] right thigh and knee but there were fresh bruises and scratches to the right posterior leg,” reads the coroner’s report released Monday.
“The location of the bruises, the multiplicity of the bruises, lack of head trauma, or facial bruising, support bruising having occurred prior to the entry into the water.”
Originally, Wood’s bruises were thought to have stemmed from her attempt to climb back into the boat. The new report seems to invalidate that theory.
Her cause of death was originally ruled an accidental drowning but was changed in 2012 to “drowning and other undetermined factors. The case was reopened in late 2011 after the boat’s captain Dennis Davern, told two TV shows that he heard an argument between Wood and Wagner the night of her death.
Wood’s death is now an open investigation, according to a Sheriff’s spokesman. Wagner is not a suspect.
“Since there are many 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 undetermined,” the new report reads.
Wagner and Walken argued on the boat the night of November 28 and were drinking. In a 2008 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Wagner said the argument stemmed from Walken advocating Wood to devote her entire life to her career, even though it meant sacrificing time with her husband and children.