It’s Official: Dingo Killed Baby Azaria In Famous Australian Case

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dingo babyThirty-two years after the death of her baby girl, Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton can finally breathe a bittersweet sigh of relief. That’s because she’s been fighting for decades to prove her claims that a dingo – or wild dog – snatched baby Azaria Chamberlain, then just 9 weeks old, from a campsite near Ayers Rock in August 1980. Now an Australian coroner has ruled that is indeed the truth.

According to coroner Elizabeth Morrison, the evidence that wild animals took the child is “sufficiently adequate, clear, cogent and exact.” Sadly, this wasn’t always the case. The first coroner’s inquest took place in 1981, which found that a dingo took Azaria; but it later found that somebody had interfered with her clothing.

A second inquest led to Chamberlain-Creighton being charged with murder and her now ex-husband, Michael Chamberlain, being charged as an accessory after the fact. She was accused of slashing her daughter’s throat with nail scissors and making it look like a dingo attack. Chamberlain-Creighton was three years into her life sentence when new evidence backed her claims – Azaria’s jacket was found near a dingo den – and her conviction was overturned.

Still a third inquest could not determine the cause of death and, finally, this fourth inquest shed new light on the decades-old case (namely new evidence of dingo attacks, including three fatal attacks on children since the third inquest).

If this all sounds familiar, you may have watched this saga on the big screen: Meryl Streep starred as Chamberlain-Creighton in 1988’s A Cry in the Dark, a film that chronicles the family’s tragic ordeal (it was released less than two months after the Chamberlains were exonerated).

Of course, watching the recent footage of Chamberlain-Creighton is just heart-wrenching. Yes, her name is finally being cleared, but to think about what this woman has endured is unbelievable. When the incident first surfaced, many people simply didn’t believe that a dingo was strong enough to take away a baby; some spat on Chamberlain-Creighton and howled like dingoes outside her home (such a sickening image). She suffered such a terrible loss and to then be blamed for it all – I just don’t know how you survive something like that.

“The truth is out…,” Michael Chamberlain, Azaria’s father, told reporters outside the courthouse. “This has been a terrifying battle. Bitter at times. But now some healing and a chance to put our daughter’s spirit to rest.”