New Autopsy Report Finds Natalie Wood Was Assaulted

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A year after the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department reopened the 1981 drowning case of Natalie Wood, the L.A. County Coroner's Office will release a new autopsy report that "raises questions about every major finding" that led investigators to originally conclude that the actress' death was an accident.


Sources tell CBS News that the new report—which is not a new autopsy, but a review of the original autopsy—will be released to the public today. The coroner concludes that—due to the location, position, shape, and size of the bruises on her wrists, knees, and ankles—Wood's injuries were more consistent with an assault, or with a person being restrained. It also suggests that Wood was already unconscious before she went into the water.

In November 2011, Wood's case was reopened by the L.A. County Sheriff's Department's homicide bureau after new information about the drowning was revealed by Dennis Davern, the captain of the yacht that Wood shared with husband Robert Wagner, in his book Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour.

According to the book, Wagner became enraged when he saw Wood and Walken speaking, and smashed a wine bottle, yelling at Walken, "What do you want to do, f**k my wife? Is that what you want?"

At that point, Walken returned to his cabin and Natalie and Robert went to their state room. According to the Captain, he heard a loud argument between the couple and thumping sounds, and eventually silence.

A short time later, the Captain went to the deck and was told by Wagner, "Natalie is missing."

The book claims Wagner refused to let the Captain call the Coast Guard.

Wagner told the Capt. the dinghy was gone, along with Natalie, but some doubted that because she was deathly afraid of dark water.

Last summer, the L.A. County Coroner had amended Wood's death certificate from "accidental" to "undetermined." The new report is significant in that it indicates that the police are still moving forward in their homicide investigation. It is not yet known at this time if there are any plans for arresting Robert Wagner.


Natalie Wood death report to question original autopsy: Sources [CBS News]



Regardless of any new information that arises short of a confession, I seriously doubt anyone will be able to pin this completely on Robert Wagner. He's had a long semi-successful career and at this point in the court of public opinion, the majority don't think an 84 year old Austin Powers alumni killed his wife 30 years ago.