Authorities amended Natalie Wood’s death certificate a month ago in order to find answers to some of the questions that have been bothering them for almost 30 years. According to the Associated Press, the certificate, no longer lists the actress’ death as “accidental drowning” but rather as “drowning and other undetermined factors”.
More than 30 years have gone by since Natalie Wood’s death was pronounced. In November 1981, the actress and her husband took their yacht and sailed towards the Catalina Islands, but Woods ended up in the waters and was later on pronounced dead. The exact circumstances of the demise remain unknown making it very difficult for sheriffs to determine whether it was a murder or an accident.
Natalie Wood’s death certificate has been amended in order to give police officers the freedom to better investigate the case. The document no longer describes the death as an accident, but as a drowning which was determined by unknown factors. This modification enables sheriffs to continue the inquiry without being afraid that authorities will hold them liable for any law infringement.
According to Chief of Detectives William McSweeney, the decision to modify the death certificate was made by the coroner’s office who insisted that detectives should not speak in public about the case. The term “undetermined” was selected because authorities think it is descriptive and leaves room for further interpretation.
McSweeney further added that the case has not been solved yet, but he doubts the new investigation will produce a major shift. In fact, the case was never closed and Natalie Wood’s death has been investigated from time to time. The Los Angeles County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Lakshmanan Sathyavagiswaran also approved the new certificate in June, but the changes were formally recorded only on August 1.
Natalie Wood’s death continues to raise a lot of questions because there have been conflicting versions of what happened on the boat. Dennis Davern, the captain of the boat, declared in a recent interview that Woods and her husband have been arguing the night when she died. Robert Wagner, Wood’s husband, wrote in a 2008 memoire that he was arguing with Christopher Walken, his friend, and not with his wife. He discovered that his wife was missing when he decided to go to bed later that evening.