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Arts and Entertainment

Natalie Wood's Cause of Death Officially 'Undetermined'

10th December 1962: Former child actress, American film star Natalie Wood (1938 - 1981), relaxing and reading a magazine in her dressing room. (Photo by William Lovelace/Express/Getty Images)
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The official ruling on the cause of death of actress Natalie Wood has been changed from "accidental" to "undetermined" in her file at the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office.

The process to change the cause of death began last summer, following a reinvigorated investigation of the 43-year-old star's suspicious drowning off a boat moored off the coast of Catalina Thanksgiving weekend, 1981.

Today, details included on the most recent report regarding Wood's death have been made public, according to City News Service, and suggest the actress was subject to some kind of physical confrontation prior to her entering the water:

Injuries found on the 43-year-old actress' arm, wrist and neck, initially attributed to Wood trying to climb into an inflatable dinghy, probably occurred before she fell into the chilly water about midnight on Nov. 29, 1981, according to the latest report, which was dated June 15.
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The coroner says Wood likely died soon after she went into the water.

Still, what really happened aboard the yacht, Spelndour, on which Wood was vacationing with husband Robert Wagner and their friend, actor Christopher Walken, has not been determined, beyond what Wagner and Walken have already described.

"How (the) injury occurred will be listed as found floating in ocean,'' the coroner's supplemental report stated. "Circumstances not clearly established.''

That night was booze-fueled and tumultuous, and included arguments and bottle-smashing.

Much was made of the uncertainty around Wood's drowning in the fall of 2011, as an updated book about her death was hitting the shelves in time for the 30th anniversary of the grim occasion. That book strongly suggested foul play was involved in Wood's fatal drowning.

Drowning does remain the official cause of death, but whereas before it was simply "accidental drowning," this new report confirms the record will now state "drowning and other undetermined factors."

Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said his department has been aware of the coroner's supplemental report "for a long, long time ... and there is nothing new to us." Whitmore adds that the investigation remains "ongoing."