- GOP hopes taking shutdown off the table with budget deal will pay dividends
- Chinese Death Star: The moon cited as the perfect launch pad for ballistic missiles
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- We are not amused: Queen’s protection officers warned to keep ‘sticky fingers’ off the royal cashews
- Unleash the crossbows: Gov. Scott Walker creates new hunting season
- Bubonic plague kills 20 in Madagascar
- G-20 diplomats fell for hacker attack promising nude photos of former French first lady Carla Bruni
- Minnesota guardsman charged with stealing private soldier data for fake IDs
- Florida appeals court rules universities can’t regulate guns
- Vladimir Putin defends Russian conservative values
Authorities amend Natalie Wood’s death certificate
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Natalie Wood's death certificate has been changed to reflect some of the uncertainties and lingering questions surrounding the actress' drowning more than 30 years ago in the Pacific Ocean off Southern California.
The document was amended earlier this month and shifts Wood's death from an accidental drowning to "drowning and other undetermined factors," according to a copy of the certificate obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press.
The amended document also now states that the circumstances of how Wood ended up in the waters off Catalina Island in November 1981 are "not clearly established."
The changes occurred nine months after sheriff's homicide investigators renewed their inquiry into Wood's death shortly before its 30th anniversary.
Chief of Detectives William McSweeney said the decision to amend the death certificate was ultimately made by the coroner's office, which has been instructed by detectives not to discuss the case. "I would just say undetermined is descriptive," he said.
McSweeney said detectives still have work to do on the case, but that doesn't necessarily mean that a major shift is coming.
"We don't close these cases," he said. "These cases have active periods and more passive periods. We're moving toward the end of an active period."
The changes to the death certificate were approved by Los Angeles County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Lakshmanan Sathyavagiswaran in late June, but they were not formally recorded until Aug. 1. The certificate wasn't made public until just recently.
Conflicting versions of what happened on the yacht shared by Wood, her actor-husband Robert Wagner and their friend, actor Christopher Walken, have contributed to the mystery of how the actress died on Thanksgiving weekend in 1981. Authorities have said Wagner is not a suspect in his wife's death.
Investigators re-opened the case last November but have released few details about its progress. They traveled to Hawaii to inspect the Splendour, the yacht the trio was aboard on the night of Wood's disappearance.
The renewed inquiry came after the boat's captain, Dennis Davern, told "48 Hours Mystery" and the "Today" show that he heard Wagner and Wood arguing the night of her disappearance and believed Wagner was to blame for her death.
Wagner wrote in a 2008 memoir that he and Walken argued that night. He wrote that Walken went to bed and he stayed up for a while, but when he went to bed, he noticed that his wife and a dinghy attached to the yacht were missing.
Wagner has said through a spokesman that he expects the sheriff's department to conduct a fair investigation. An email seeking comment Tuesday was not returned.
Wood was nominated for three Academy Awards during her lifetime. Her death stunned the world and has remained one of Hollywood's most enduring mysteries. The original detective on the case, Wagner, Walken and until recently, the coroner's office, have all said they considered her death an accident.
Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Memories of a long brotherhood tempered in common struggle
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- Inside China: Ukraine gets nuke umbrella
- House votes for bargain to end budget drama
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- Comma on!: Twitter erupts over Obama-Castro 'marriage'
- 80 people publicly executed across North Korea for films, Bibles
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Somber duty: U.S. presidents in hot demand at Mandela's memorial
- MALCOLM/REIMER: Over-criminalization undermines respect for legal system
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Consummate traveler Todd DeFeo explores the unique stories that make destinations worth going to.
Covering the world of soccer, including the World Cup, Major League Soccer, D.C. United and the English Premier League and other interesting sporting events.
Born in 1930 in rural Missouri, Charles Vandegriffe, Sr., brings his time and place to the Communities.
Columns from Voices around the World talking about the events, people, politics and social issues that concern us wherever, and whoever, we are.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow