The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (L.A.S.D.) is being petitioned to open an inquiry into the 1981 drowning case of Natalie Wood, as an upcoming book claims that there was a cover-up of the circumstances related to her death.
The author of the book has taken legal action to obtain confidential sheriff records, which he said the department to date has refused to share.
Author Samuel A. Perroni, a retired federal prosecutor and Arkansas trial lawyer, brought the petition Thursday in L.A. Superior Court against the L.A.S.D. and Sheriff Alex Villanueva, seeking the judge’s order directing that the information be turned over.
“Through his work, [Perroni] seeks to inform the public about the circumstances of Ms. Wood’s death,” the petition reads. “Regrettably, respondents have met the petitioner’s requests for records with obstruction and delay.”
The new petition requests access to copies of the L.A.S.D’s computer program records, including files on Wood’s death, as well as records obtained by author Suzanne Finstad for her book “Natalie Wood: The Complete Biography.”
Last October, Perroni sought information about the department’s investigation through the California Public Records Act for his book “Cover-Up.” According to its website, the upcoming book seeks to expose “the corrupt motives that influenced the outcome of the original investigation” of Wood’s death.
Wood was first reported missing on Nov. 29, 1981, during a weekend boat trip to Catalina Island on husband Robert Wagner’s yacht. Her body was found in the water the next day, and following a two-week investigation, her death, at age 43, was ruled a drowning accident.
In 2012, the L.A. County coroner’s officer, however, amended the death certificate, changing the manner of death from an accidental drowning to “drowning and other undetermined factors.”