Natalie Wood's death still deemed an accident

Natalie Wood poses in a Yves Saint Laurent costume, Sept. 19, 1964 in Paris.
Natalie Wood poses in a Yves Saint Laurent costume, Sept. 19, 1964 in Paris. AFP/Getty Images

Despite possible "new evidence" that caused the L.A. County Sheriff's Department to reopen the case in November of last year, detectives have determined that there is not sufficient evidence to suggest that Wood's death was a murder.

"At this point, it is an accidental death," William McSweeney, the sheriff's chief of detectives, told the L.A. Times on Tuesday. "Nothing has been discovered to suggest changing that at this time."

That said, he added, cold case files are "never really closed" and thus should be reopened anytime new information is a possibility. Detectives are still addressing "smaller questions" not answered in the original investigation, but it's unlikely that these smaller questions will effect the conclusion about her accidental death.

The circumstances surrounding Wood's passing have long been shrouded in mystery. The drowning followed an evening she, her husband Robert Wagner and actor Christopher Walken spent on a boat off Catalina Island.

Wood disappeared on the night of Nov. 28, 1981, and her body wasn't found until 8 a.m. the following morning. The three had been drinking heavily that night and the coroner ruled that the death was an accident.

The case was reopened when Dennis Davern, the captain of the boat, claimed he had “new recollections” about the case.

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