In 1982, an Australian mother was convicted of murdering her baby daughter. She was later exonerated, but soon fell victim to a joke that distracted the world from the real story.
A fresh look at a case that intrigued Australia for more than three decades. It’s the horrific story of the 1980 disappearance of 9-week-old Azaria Chamberlain while her family was camping in the Australian outback.
Her mother, Lindy Chamberlain, said that a dingo (a wolf-like creature) had entered a tent and taken the baby; her body was never found. After an initial inquiry supported her account, another inquest was held, and soon Chamberlain stood accused of having slit Azaria’s throat. She was found guilty of murder in 1982, freed after three years when more evidence was found, but not given true justice until 2012. And for much of the public, Chamberlain will remain forever guilty.
“The horrific story is that a woman is not believed because she doesn’t look like the anguished mother — or what we think the anguished mother should look like,” notes one expert in the Retro Report. Says Chamberlain today: “If I smiled I was belittling my daughter’s death. If I cried I was acting. The point is, until you go through something, you have no idea how you yourself will react. And I had no idea how I’d react until it happened to me.”