Coroner Rules Dingo Took Baby in 1980 Missing Child Case
In one of most highly publicized missing child cases in 1980, Lindy Chamberlain was wrongfully imprisoned for the death of her 9-week-old daughter, Azaria. Now, 32 years later, an Australian coroner has officially ruled that the mom is innocent and it was in fact a dingo that killed Azaria.
“We’re relieved and delighted to come to the end of this saga,” Lindy said. Her ex-husband Michael also added, “This battle to get to the legal truth of what happened to Azaria has taken too long.”
On Aug. 17, 1980, Lindy and ex-husband Michael went camping with their three children in the Australian dessert. After Lindy put their baby girl to sleep in their tent, she went to a nearby barbeque area with some friends. A few moments later, they all heard a growl and a crying baby. Lindy ran back to their tent, only to see a dingo (wild dog) carrying their baby away.
Due to the unprecedented nature of the incident and amidst rumors that the parents sacrificed their daughter in a cult ceremony, Lindy was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.
Four years after her conviction, a child’s jacket was found in a dingo den, causing the trial to be re-opened and leading to Chamberlain’s eventual acquittal.
Despite the evidence, it still took 32 years until the Australian system accepted the truth behind Lindy’s statements.
“Please accept my sincere apology on the death of your special and loved daughter and sister Azaria,” Coroner Elizabeth Morris said. “I am so sorry for your loss. Time does not remove the pain and sadness of death of a child.”
With the official coroner report, Azaria’s cause of death can now be officially recognized on her death certificate.
The Chamberlain’s story was reenacted in the 1988 film “A Cry in the Dark” with Meryl Streep.
Watch the news coverage and the 1988 film trailer below.