Renewed Natalie Wood death investigation may be nearing end

A Los Angeles County homicide detective says he's hoping renewed interest in the 1981 death of Natalie Wood in the ocean off Southern California will produce more witnesses to shed light on what happened.

For nearly four decades, speculation has swirled around the death of the 43-year-old actress who was nominated for three Academy Awards and starred in "West Side Story" and "Rebel Without a Cause." She was on a yacht with her husband, actor Robert Wagner, actor Christopher Walken and the boat captain on Thanksgiving weekend of 1981. After a night of drinking, her body was found floating in the waters off Southern California's Catalina Island.

Investigators initially ruled her death as an accidental drowning. But the case was reopened in 2011 to see whether Wagner or anyone else played a role after the boat's captain said he heard the couple arguing the night of her disappearance. The coroner's office later amended Wood's death certificate to include "drowning and other undetermined factors."

Detectives have reclassified Wood's drowning as a "suspicious death" and say Wagner is a person of interest in the case. But the evidence collected so far hasn't reached the threshold for a murder investigation and there are no immediate plans to file criminal charges, detectives said Monday.

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