Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

New Report: Natalie Woods’ Scratches and Bruises Premortem

Natalie Wood

Natalie Wood

A new report released by the Los Angeles coroner adds a new twist to the case of the mysterious death of actress Natalie Wood, who was found drowned in the waters off the coast of Southern California in 1981.

On January 14, 2013, officials in Los Angeles released a 10-page addendum to the official autopsy report conducted on acress Natalie Wood in 1981. The report cites unexplained premortem scratches and brusies on Woods’ face and arms as the reason that the coroner changed Woods’ cause of death from “accident” to “drowning and other undetermined factors” in August 2012. Officials were cautious with the wording because they were unable to determine exactly when the scratches and bruises occurred.

While the initial autopsy report concluded that “Most of the bruises on the body are superficial and probably sustained at the time of drowning,” Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Lakshmanan Sathyavagiswaran wrote in the addendum, “The location of the bruises, the multiplicity of the bruises, lack of head trauma, or facial bruising support bruising having occurred prior to entry in the water. Since there are unanswered questions and limited additional evidence available for evaluation, it is opined by this Medical Examiner that the manner of death should be left as undetermined,”

This information has reportedly not altered the police investigation, which is ongoing.

Natalie Wood’s Cause of Death Changed From ‘Accident’ to ‘Undetermined’

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