The West

Questions remain over star s death
Natalie Wood.

A newly released report shows coroner's officials amended actress Natalie Wood's death certificate last year based on unanswered questions more than 30 years ago about bruises on her upper body but were lacking several pieces of evidence and could only conclude that she drowned under undetermined circumstances.

Wood's death has remained one of Hollywood's most enduring mysteries. Conflicting versions of what happened on a yacht with the Oscar-nominated actress, her actor-husband Robert Wagner and their friend, actor Christopher Walken, have contributed to the confusion.

Wood's death certificate was amended last year to change the cause of her death from drowning to "drowning and other undetermined factors", and the report released on Monday details why the changes were made.

The report does not answer many of the lingering questions about the actress' death, and a Sheriff's Department spokesman said it had not changed the status of the case, which remains open, after investigators in late 2011 renewed their inquiry into her November 1981 drowning.

Wood's autopsy found bruises on both of her arms, a small scratch on her neck and abrasions described as superficial on her forehead, left brow and cheek.

Los Angeles County coroner's officials say in an addendum to Wood's autopsy report that some of the bruises may have occurred before she went into the water and drowned, but that could not be determined definitively.

"The location of the bruises, the multiplicity of the bruises, lack of head trauma, or facial bruising support bruising having occurred prior to entry in the water," says the report, written by chief medical examiner Lakshmanan Sathyavagiswaran.

"Since there are 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 certificate was also amended to say that how the actress ended up in the water was "not clearly established".

Officials also considered that Wood wasn't wearing a life jacket and had no history of suicide.

The newly released report also says there are conflicting statements about when the boat's occupants discovered Wood was missing.

The report estimates her time of death was around midnight, and she was reported missing at 1.30am.

The West Australian

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