Photograph by Daniel Hartley-Allen/Getty Images.
The dingo really did do it all along.
An Australian coroner ruled Tuesday that a wild dog was in fact to blame for the 1988 death of 9-week-old Azaria Chamberlain, bringing an end to a three-decade-old case that had long gripped the Australian public and one that had become a sitcom punch line on this side of the Pacific.
As the New York Times explains, Azaria's mother, Lindy Chamberlain (now Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton), spent time in prison after being convicted in the death of her daughter. While she was later set free after that verdict was overturned, a series of previous inquests into her claim that Azaria was snatched by a small Australian wild dog known as a dingo proved inconclusive. Public opinion was heavily against Chamberlain-Creighton at the time of the original inquest and during her trial, the Associated Press reminds us: Few at the time believed a dingo was strong enough to drag away an infant.
"I am so sorry," the coroner told the Chamberlain family in court Tuesday. "Time does not remove the pain and sadness of the death of a child."
As the AtlanticWire reminds us, "A dingo's got my baby!" seeped into the American consciousness in the years after Azaria's death, turning up in television shows like The Simpsons, Seinfeld, and even Buffy the Vampire Slayer, in which a fictional rock band was named Dingoes Ate My Baby. Before its turn as a pop culture punch line, however, the Chamberlain family's story was widely introduced to the international public by the 1988 film A Cry in the Dark, in which Meryl Streep played Chamberlain.