LA Sheriff Reopens Natalie Wood Case

Actress drowned while boating off Catalina Island in 1981

By Olsen Ebright, Daniel Macht and Scott Weber
|  Friday, Nov 18, 2011  |  Updated 10:56 AM PDT
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The LA County Sheriff's Department has reopened its investigation into the death of actress Natalie Wood. Kim Baldonado reports

Kim Baldonado & David Gregory

The LA County Sheriff's Department has reopened its investigation into the death of actress Natalie Wood. Kim Baldonado reports

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1981 Report on Death of Natalie Wood

Natalie Wood drown off Catalina Island 30 years ago. This report is from NBC4 was filed in November 1981, just a few days following Wood's death.
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After reviewing the death of famed actress Natalie Wood Wagner in 1981, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department ruled it accidental.

Now authorities are reopening the case, according to an announcement from the department issued late Thursday afternoon.

"Recently Sheriff's Homicide Investigators were contacted by persons who stated they had additional information about the Natalie Wood Wagner drowning," according to the LASD.

"Due to the additional information, Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau has decided to take another look at the case," wrote the department.

The actress drowned on Nov. 29, 1981, while boating off Catalina Island with her husband Robert Wagner and actor Christopher Walken.

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that homicide detectives want to talk to the captain of the boat because of comments he had made recounting the case on its 30th anniversary.

Sheriff Lee Baca told the Times the captain made comments "worthy of exploring” but did not elaborate.

Update: Yacht Captain Says He Lied to Natalie Wood Death Investigators

Late Thursday, Robert Wagner released a statement through his publicist.

"Although no one in the Wagner family has heard from the LA County Sheriff’s department about this matter, they fully support the efforts of the LA County Sheriff’s Dept. and trust they will evaluate whether any new information relating to the death of Natalie Wood Wagner is valid, and that it comes from a credible source or sources other than those simply trying to profit from the 30-year anniversary of her tragic death," the statement said.

Wood appeared in more than 56 movies and was nominated for three Academy Awards, according to the Official Natalie Wood website.

Born Natalia Zakharenko in San Francisco, Wood became a child star at age 4 after playing the role of Susan Walker in “Miracle on 34th Street.”

Among the other classic films she went on to star in were "West Side Story" and “Rebel Without a Cause.”

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