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  June 12th, 2012       Posted by Frederik       Display Comments

Thirty-two years after Azaria Chamberlain, 9 weeks old, disappeared from a campsite in Australia, the coroner in the fourth inquest into her death announced on Tuesday that the baby died as a result of being taken by a dingo, an Australian wild dog. The ruling signified the end of three decades of struggle for the Chamberlain family. At first, Azaria’s mother, Lindy Chamberlain, was convicted of murdering her daughter and was sent to prison. That verdict was later overturned and Ms. Chamberlain set free, but subsequent inquests were unable to reach a determination on how Azaria died, despite growing evidence that Ms. Chamberlain was truthful in her statement that a dingo was responsible for the death at the campsite in central Australia. The coroner, Elizabeth Morris, with tears in her eyes, addressed the Chamberlain family in a courtroom in Darwin, Australia. “Please accept my sincere sympathies on the death of your special daughter,” Ms. Morris said. “I am so sorry. Time does not remove the pain and sadness of the death of a child.” She said of Azaria, “The cause of her death was the result of being taken by a dingo.” The death of Azaria and the arrest and conviction of her mother became an international saga with the making of the 1988 movie “A Cry in the Dark,” in which Meryl Streep played Ms. Chamberlain. The full article can be read at the New York Times.

  • Michael

    Lindy Chamberlain would have needed the consummate acting skills of Meryl Streep to get away with murdering her child, as some (alarmingly) still believe she did.

    This case was a modern-day witch hunt, and ‘A Cry in the Dark’ did much to educate Australians on the evidence of eyewitnesses from the night Azaria Chamberlain disappeared.

    The very title says it all – at the time the prosecution alleged Azaria was already dead, she cried-out as the dingo took her, alerting eyewitness Sally Lowe who told Lindy that her baby had woken.

    Some consummate forensic trickery was raised to discredit Sally Lowe and convict the Chamberlains.

    Yesterday’s ruling about Azaria’s death stopped short of making any recommendations about the miscarriage of justice in the Northern Territory.

    That story is yet to be told.

    This chapter in Meryl Streep’s work must rank as her most well-articulated portrayal of a living person.