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Natalie Wood's Cause Of Death Changed From 'Accident' To 'Undetermined'

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Natalie Wood, pictured here in 1959 with her husband Robert Wagner, was found drowned in 1981.
Natalie Wood, pictured here in 1959 with her husband Robert Wagner, was found drowned in 1981.

Actress Natalie Wood's cause of death, formerly ruled as accidental drowning, has been formally changed to "undetermined."

The 43-year-old was found drowned in 1981, after a night of yachting off the Californian coast with her husband, Robert Wagner, and actor Christopher Walken. The Los Angeles Coroner's office ruled her death as accidental. The coroner's report noted that a night of heavy drinking could have caused her to slip and fall, according to MSNBC.

In November 2011, however, the case was reopened after Dennis Davern, the yacht's captain, came forward with new information about the incident. Davern said he believes that Wagner was responsible for Wood's death.

According to Davern, Wagner and Wood had been involved in an intense argument earlier that night, CBS reports. When Wood went missing, Davern claims, Wagner asked him not to look for her.

As of January 2012, the investigation had still found no new evidence to indicate Wood's death was a murder.

Now, however, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is changing their tune. Some of the bruises found on Wood's body, detectives told TMZ, have been determined to be inconsistent with death by drowning.

The detectives noted that they still believe drowning to be the ultimate cause of Wood's death. However, the suspicious bruises were one factor that led the L.A. County Coroner to change the cause of death on Wood's death certificate from "accident" to "undetermined."

Investigators say they have no definitive evidence that Wood's death was due to foul play.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly named Robert Wagner as Richard Wagner in the text and photo caption.

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