The reopened investigation into the 1981 death of actress Natalie Wood has found no new evidence to suggest her death was suspicious.
A fresh inquiry into Wood’s death was announced in November 2011, but it now seems likely the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department detectives working on the case will rule Wood’s death was accidental. The case has not been officially closed, but one top Sheriff’s Department official admitted new evidence is unlikely to be found. William McSweeney, sheriff’s chief of detective, told the LA Times:
“At this point, it is an accidental death. Nothing has been discovered to suggest changing that at this time.”
The 43-year-old Wood died on Thanksgiving weekend 1981 after falling from a yacht she owned with husband Robert Wagner while it sailed off Santa Catalina Island. Wagner was on board at the time, as was actor Christopher Walken and the yacht’s captain, Dennis Davern.
Since then, Wagner himself has been accused of her murder by Davern. Wagner fully supported the reopening of the case.
Over the past two months, detectives have conducted numerous new interviews and reviewed the original case file, but to no avail. An inspection of the boat where Wood was last seen alive also yielded no new evidence.
One fresh witness, Marilyn Wayne, did come forward early on in the reopened investigation, claiming that she heard Wood’s screams for help. Wayne also said she received a threatening note warning her to keep quiet about what she had heard.
Increasingly, it looks like the death of Natalie Wood will again be ruled as accidental.