Homicide detectives will reopen an investigation into the death of screen icon Natalie Wood three decades after she drowned off the California coast, Los Angeles County Sheriff's officials said on Thursday.
The body of Wood, 43, was found floating in a Catalina Island cove in 1981, and her death was ruled an accidental drowning by the Los Angeles County Coroner.
The star of Rebel Without a Cause and West Side Story had spent the night before dining and drinking on the island and on a yacht with her husband, TV star Robert Wagner, and fellow actor Christopher Walken.
Questions over the circumstances surrounding Wood's untimely death have lingered for 30 years, and family members have previously asked for authorities to reexamine the original findings.
Recently sheriff's homicide investigators were contacted by persons who stated they had additional information about the Natalie Wood Wagner drowning, Los Angeles County sheriff's officials said in a written statement.
Due to the additional information, sheriff's homicide bureau has decided to take another look at the case, the statement said.
A sheriff's spokesman declined to elaborate on the additional information pending a news conference scheduled for Friday morning.
But Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca told the Los Angeles Times that detectives wanted to talk to the captain of the yacht, the Splendor, about comments he had made as the 30th anniversary of Wood's death approached.
The Times, citing anonymous sources, reported that the sheriff's department had also received an anonymous letter saying that the captain had new recollections about the case.
A spokesman for Wagner said that the actor's family had not been contacted by the sheriff's officials but fully supports the department's efforts.
The family members trust that the sheriff's department 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, spokesman Alan Nierob said in the statement.
The department has asked that anyone with information about Wood's drowning contact sheriff's homicide investigators or an anonymous tip line.
Wood, who was born Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko to Russian immigrant parents in San Francisco, appeared as a child in such films as the Christmas classic Miracle on 34th Street and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.
She was nominated for a best supporting actress Academy Award as a teenager for her role opposite screen legend James Dean in the classic 1955 film Rebel Without a Cause.
Wood was also nominated twice for best actress Oscars, for parts in 1961's Splendor in the Grass and Love with the Proper Stranger two years later. She never won the award.