AP got a look today at the Los Angeles County coroner's revised death certificate, which now says that actress Natalie Wood died in the waters off Catalina Island in 1981 due to "drowning and other undetermined factors." The certificate used to attribute the cause of death to "accidental drowning."
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.