Dingo case reopened, mother may be innocent

Paula Duffy's picture

The 1980 murder case that resulted in a mother being convicted of killing her child while maintaining a dingo was to blame, is being re-examined in Australia.

"The dingo's got my baby," became an expression that some found comical, while others steadfastly believed was true. Today in Sydney an inquest took place with the purpose of finding a better answer than currently exists.

Azaria Chamberlain's mother, Lindy, was convicted and later cleared of murdering her daughter but hopes that recent dingo (wild dog) attacks on people might give some closure to the rampant speculation she and her now ex-husband Michael have lived with for more than 30 years.

The official cause of Azaria's death is still listed as "unknown" and it has been Lindy's intention to raise awareness of dingo attacks in the ensuing decades that might give credence to her statements made at the time.

Her daughter's body was never found after it was taken from a campsite, while her clothing was discovered strewn about the surrounding area of Ayers Rock, now known as Uluru, the original Aboriginal name of the area.

Fox World News reported on the testimony that began with a court appointed investigator admitting that there have been "numerous" dingo attacks on humans and in the eyes of this investigator, who is a retired police officer, it is now probable that a dingo was responsible for the death of Azaria Chamberlain.

"Although it (a dingo killing a child) may have been regarded as unlikely in 1980 ... it shouldn't be by 2011-12," he said. "With the additional evidence in my submission, your honor should accept on the balance of probabilities that the dingo theory is the correct one."

The person who needs convincing, and the ultimate reason for the re-opening of the case is Northern Territory Coroner Elizabeth Morris. At the end of the day's proceedings she announced that her findings will be released after she has reviewed the testimony and considered all pertinent facts.

The movie based on the case named "A Cry in the Dark," starred Meryl Streep in the role of Lindy. It was she that uttered the line, "The dingo's got my baby!"

The last time the case was re-examined in 1995 there was nothing that could change the official "unknown" reason for Azaria's death and certainly nothing that changed minds about the likelihood that a dingo was the culprit.

In the ensuing years both Michael and Lindy Chamberlain have gathered facts about the deaths of a least three children among 12 that were attacked. That information was presented to the court by their attorney Mr. Stuart Tipple.

Tipple said that the court of public opinion will always be divided on the matter and the Chamberlains know from 32 years of experience, that no matter what they say, many will refuse to believe them.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

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