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Natalie Wood case to be re-examined by LA Sheriff

Natalie Wood case to be re-examined
Natalie Wood AP Photo, file

(CBS/KCAL/AP) LOS ANGELES - The mysterious death of actress Natalie Wood is being re-examined by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Pictures: Natalie Wood
Pictures: Christopher Walken

Wood, who was married at the time to actor Robert Wagner, died on Nov. 29, 1981. She was 43 at the time of her death.

She drowned - while boating with Wagner and actor Christopher Walken - off the Isthmus of Catalina Island. Her death was investigated at the time and ruled an accident by the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office.

Wood's sister, Lana, asked for the case to be re-opened last March.

According to CBS Los Angeles, when her body was found, Wood was wearing a parka and it was believed at the time she fell overboard and the parka filled with water which caused her to drown. Wagner speculated that Wood was likely bothered by the sound of their dinghy hitting the side of the boat and Wood went to tie it to the boat more securely when she fell overboard.

Meanwhile, Wood's sister insisted her sister was deathly afraid of the water and would never have attempted such a maneuver.

Sheriff's Homicide Detectives said they were recently contacted by "persons who stated they had additional information about the Natalie Wood Wagner drowning."

Due to the additional info, detectives have decided to re-open the case.

On Friday, yacht captain Dennis Davern said on NBC's Today that he lied to investigators about Wood's death 30 years ago and blames Wagner for her drowning.

The Los Angeles Times quoted Sheriff Lee Baca as saying recent comments by the captain, who was interviewed for a book project and whose comments from a 2000 article by Vanity Fair, are being featured on a new print edition and a "48 Hours Mystery" episode that focus on Hollywood scandals.

It is not the first time Davern has contradicted statements he and others made to investigators after Woods' death, and the magazine notes that he has told his story through tabloids and has been shopping for a book deal for years.

CBS Los Angeles reports that more details will be announced Friday 11 a.m. at a police press conference.

Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Homicide Lieutenant Corina at (323) 890-5641.

48 Hours Presents Vanity Fair: Hollywood Scandal airs Saturday, Nov. 19 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

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