A Dec. 1, 1981 file photo shows actress Natalie Wood. Investigators are now calling 87-year-old actor Robert Wagner a “person of interest” in the 1981 death of his wife Natalie Wood. Mystery has swirled around Wood’s death. It was declared an accident but police reopened the case in 2011 to see whether Wagner or anyone else played a role. (AP Photo/File)
Actors and spouses Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner following their reconciliation are seen in Britain on April 24,1972. (Photo by Roger Jackson/Central Press/)
This Nov. 29, 1981 file photo, the 55-foot yacht Splendour, belonging to actor Robert Wagner and his wife, actress Natalie Wood, sits in the waters at Avalon, Calif., on Santa Catalina Island, near where rescuers found the body of Wood, an apparent drowning victim. Investigators are now calling Wagner a “person of interest” in the 1981 death of Wood. (AP Photo/Paul J. Harrington, File)
This Nov. 30, 1981 file photo shows the Prince Valiant, the inflatable dinghy used by Natalie Wood, moored at the harbor in Avalon after it washed up on the rocks on Santa Catalina Island. Patrolmen discovered the actress’ body 200 yards off Blue Cavern Point on Catalina Island, 100 yards away from the boat after a seven hour search. (AP Photo/Paul J. Harrington, File)
In this Dec. 1, 2013 file photo, Robert Wagner attends The Caucus for Producers, Writers and Directors 31st Annual Awards in Beverly Hills. (Photo by Todd Williamson /Invision/AP)
Actors and spouses Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner in London on July 1, 1976. (Photo by Hulton Archive/)
Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner arrive at the premiere of “The Godfather,” on Aug. 24, 1972, in London. (Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/)
Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner pose during the 29th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, on May 18, 1976. (AFP/)
Natalie Wood poses in a Yves Saint Laurent costume on Sept. 19, 1964 in Paris. (AFP/)
Natalie Wood, children Natasha, center, and Courtney, right, and husband Robert Wagner arrive in London on July 4, 1976. (STAFF/AFP/)
Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood are seen at the time of their second marriage. (Photo by Evening Standard/)
Actress Natalie Wood and actor Ed Asner pose after receiving their awards at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s 1980 Golden Globe Awards show in Los Angeles, Jan. 28, 1980. Ms. Wood received her award for Best Television Actress in drama for her part in the mini-series “From Here To Eternity,” while Asner received his award for Best Television Actor in a Drama for his part in the series “Lou Grant.” (AP Photo/George Brich)
Natalie Wood is seen in a 1955 photo. (STAFF/AFP/)
Actor Paul Newman and actress Natalie Wood pose with their statuettes at the 23rd Golden Globe Awards dinner in Hollywood, Calif., February 1, 1966. Wood received the World Film Favorite, female, award, Newman was honored with the World Film Favorite, male, award. Newman wears a patch on his chin because of a recent minor injury during the shooting of a new film. (AP Photo)
LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department detectives plan to publicly discuss today why the investigation into the 1981 death of actress Natalie Wood has been reopened.
Robert Wagner, who was married to Wood at the time of her death, was named by the sheriff’s department last week as a person of interest in her drowning death off the coast of Santa Catalina island in November 1981. At the time, the couple was on the family’s yacht Splendour with Captain Dennis Davern and fellow actor Christopher Walken.
The sheriff’s department plans to discuss the issue at a news conference in downtown L.A. at 11 a.m.
Investigators have said they want to speak with Wagner about the circumstances surrounding Wood’s death in 1981, but Wagner, who will turn 88 on Feb. 10, has declined.
“We’ve investigated the case over the last six years. I think he’s more of a person of interest now,” Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Lieutenant John Corina said of Wagner in an interview with “48 Hours.” “I mean, we know now that he was the last person to be with Natalie before she disappeared.”
Wood, 43, was reported missing from the Splendour at 1:30 a.m. on Nov. 29. 1981. The next day, the three-time Academy Award nominee was found floating in the water. Witnesses have said they heard Wood and Wagner arguing the night she went missing.
After a two-week investigation, the death was ruled an accident in 1981. But the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department reopened the death investigation in 2011. In 2012, the Los Angeles County coroner’s office amended the death certificate, changing the manner of death from an accidental drowning to “drowning and other undetermined factors.”
Corina says he doesn’t believe Wagner has told the whole story.
“I haven’t seen him tell the details that match all the other witnesses in this case,” he says of Wagner. “I think he’s constantly changed his story a little bit. And his version of events just don’t add up.”
Investigators note the autopsy report indicates there were a number of bruises that appeared to be fresh on Wood’s body.
“She looked like a victim of an assault,” says Los Angeles County sheriff’s Detective Ralph Hernandez. “I think it’s suspicious enough to make us think that something happened.”
He added: “We have not been able to prove this was a homicide. And we haven’t been able to prove that this was an accident, either. …The ultimate problem is we don’t know how she ended up in the water.”