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Natalie Wood autopsy findings to be questioned in new report from L.A. coroner's office, sources say

Actress Natalie Wood in 1963. AP Photo

Actress Natalie Wood in 1963
AP Photo

(CBS/AP) LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles Coroner's Office is expected to release a new report Monday in the drowning of actress Natalie Wood more than 30 years ago.

48 Hours Presents Vanity Fair: Hollywood Scandal

Sources told CBS News the review of the 1981 coroner's report questions the findings that led investigators to conclude Wood's death was an accident. 

Sources say the new report concludes that the bruising on the actress' wrists, knees, and ankles could be more consistent with injuries from an assault than they were from struggling to climb back on a boat.

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 previously said Wagner is not a suspect in his wife's death.

Investigators re-opened the case in Nov. 2011, 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.

Wood was nominated for three Academy Awards during her lifetime. Her death 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 Wood's death an accident.

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  • Crimesider Staff

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