It’s been more than 30 years, and now an Australian mother can be reasonably certain a dingo killed her baby after a coroner’s ruling.
The phrase “dingo killed my baby” has worked itself into the international cultural lexicon, but the case at the meme’s heart was incredibly tragic and has essentially remained a huge mystery for more than three decades.
It’s actually nearly surprising that the “dingo killed my baby” joke has persisted so long, considering how horrible the story that stands behind the reference is. In 1980, nine-week-old Azaria Chamberlain disappeared from a tent during a camping trip with her family in the Australian desert.
Chamberlain, the baby at the center of the case, was ostensibly taken and eaten by dingoes, which one would think is the worst nightmare a parent can possibly face. But what followed was even more nightmarish, with Chamberlain’s mom Lindy arrested, charged with murder for her daughter’s disappearance, and jailed due to the fact that the lack of evidence led authorities to believe she’d killed her own baby and blamed it on a dingo.
Azaria Chamberlain’s dad was also jailed as an accessory in what police then believed was a murder case. After three long years in prison, Lindy was freed after bits of Azaria’s clothing were found in a dingo den.
Now Lindy Chamberlain’s name is fully cleared after a coroner ruled a dingo killed her baby, and she says:
“We are relieved and delighted to come to the end of this saga… No longer will Australians be able to say dingoes are not dangerous and only attack if provoked. We live in a beautiful country, but it is dangerous and we would ask all Australians to take appropriate precautions.”