If the name Lindy Chamberlain doesn’t ring a bell, perhaps her famous quote will: “A dingo’s got my baby!”
That exclamation, which later became a punchline in a Seinfeld episode, was Lindy’s reaction when, while camping in the Australian Outback with her family in 1980, she discovered her baby daughter missing from her tent and a dingo leaving the area with something clenched in it jaws.
That story made national headlines and all these years later, what really happened that night remains somewhat of a mystery.
But today, Lindy Chamberlain and her family are seeking to reopen the case in the hopes that they will finally get some closure.
Authorities initially believed Lindy’s claims that a dingo, a wild dog-like creature unique to Australia, had absconded with 10-week-old Azaria. But later evidence, including a bloody hand print on Azaria’s clothes, cast doubt on her story.
In 1982, after several inquests and appeals, Lindy Chamberlain was sentenced to life in prison for murdering her child. Her husband, Michael, was found guilty of being her accomplice and given a suspended sentence.
But after four years in prison, new evidence was found that seemed to back up Lindy’s claims that a Dingo really did take her baby. A piece of Azaria’s clothing was discovered near a dingo den and based on that, Lindy was released from prison. Two years later, the convictions against her and her husband were officially overturned.
But that’s not the end of the story. Despite being cleared of murdering their child, Lindy and Michael Chamberlain still live under a cloud of suspicion and doubt. A coroner’s inquest into the case in 1995 was recorded as inconclusive and Azaria’s death certificate still lists the cause of her death as “unknown.”
Today, more than 30 years later, the Chamberlains are still seeking closure. Although they divorced in 1991, they have jointly requested that another inquest take place. Lindy Chamberlain says she wants this not for herself, but for her daughter.
She deserves justice. In light of all the evidence before the Commission, this should be reflected on her death certificate and not the open finding that is there now.
The Chamberlain’s lawyer, Stuart Tipple, believes that new evidence in the case will result in justice finally being served. That new evidence? Dingo attacks. Back in the 1980s, these wild dogs were believed to be harmless and attacks against humans were practically unheard of. But since then, dingo attacks have become much more common with at least 56 reported since 2001 in the same area where Azaria disappeared.
In reading about this case, it is clear that there are many similarities to the JonBenet Ramsey case. Not only were the media biased against the parents, the general public was more than willing to assume guilt based on that bias. Let’s hope the Chamberlains can finally find the peace they deserve.
You can read more about Lindy and her lost little girl at Lindy Chamberlain-Creigton.
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