Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton Biography

(1948–)
Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton is best known for the highly publicized case surrounding the 1980 disappearance of her daughter Azaria, in the Northern Territory of Australia.

Synopsis

Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton was born on March 2, 1948 in Whakatane, New Zealand. After moving to Australia with her family, she married Michael Leigh Chamberlain. The two had four children, Aidan, Reagan, Azaria and Kahlia. In August of 1980, the Chamberlains made headlines when a dingo took and killed their 9-week-old daughter Azaria, on a family camping trip. After great media speculation, Lindy was charged with murder and sentenced to life in prison, but new evidence in 1988 eventually cleared all charges. The popular case was made into the 1988 film, A Cry in the Dark, starring Meryl Streep.

Early Life

Born Alice Lynne Murchinson on March 2, 1948, in Whakatane, on the North Island of New Zealand. In 1949 Lindy moved to Victoria, Australia with her family. Her father was a pastor, and the family often moved to attend new churches.

On November 18, 1969, Lindy married Michael Leigh Chamberlain, also a pastor, and like her born in New Zealand. For the first five years of their marriage they lived in Tasmania, where Lindy had their first child, Aidan. After receiving her dressmaking and tailoring certificate at a technical college, the family moved to northern Queensland where Lindy specialized in making wedding dresses. She spent her free time involving herself in the church and fulfilling her responsibilities as the pastor's wife. On April 16, 1976, their second son, Reagan, was born. After moving yet again to Mt. Isa, Lindy finally gave birth to a baby girl on June 11, 1980. Wanting all of her children to have names with strong meanings, she choose the name Azaria, meaning "Blessed of God."

Azaria's Disappearance

Lindy made headlines in 1980, after the mysterious disappearance of 9-week-old daughter Azaria. On August 17, 1980, Azaria went missing from the family’s camping ground while they were on holiday near Ayers Rock, in the Northern Territory of Australia. The night she disappeared, Lindy claimed to have heard a cry and immediately ran outside to see a dingo coming out of the tent. Dingo tracks, along with Azaria's blood, were found around and inside the tent. After reporting the incident, a massive search was organized. Police found numerous dingo tracks and her torn-up clothing, but the body was never found.

Investigation

In December of 1980, a coroner proved that a dingo had in fact taken the child, however the Supreme Court rejected the findings of the initial inquest. After speculation that the found clothing was interfered with by "person or persons unknown," a second inquest was ordered. After further investigation and the collection of more evidence, Lindy was tried for murder. On October 29, 1982, Lindy, who at the time was pregnant with fourth child, daughter Kahlia, was found guilty of 1st Degree Murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. Her husband Michael was also charged as an accessory after the fact. On November 17, 1982, Lindy's daughter, Kahlia, was born in custody and eventually sent to live with foster parents.

In February of 1986, new evidence emerged when police found Azaria's missing matinee jacket, a significant item of clothing that supported the Chamberlain's defense case. On October 21, 1987, the Chamberlains were released from prison, and Lindy's life sentence was remitted. In 1992, the Chamberlains received compensation by the Northern Territory government for wrongful imprisonment.

Media Involvement

The Chamberlain trial is arguably the most publicized trial in Australian history. The case divided Australians between those who believed her innocence, and those who believed she had in fact committed murder. The claim that a dingo had taken the child was greeted with significant skepticism, as they were not regarded by most Australians to be a dangerous species. The claim led to numerous rumors, jokes and cartoons, and it is speculated that the press sensationalized many aspects of the case.

In 1988, actress Meryl Streep portrayed Lindy in the film A Cry in the Dark. The film chronicled the events of the disappearance, and Lindy and Michael's fight to prove their innocence. Streep's famous line, "The dingo took my baby," became widely used in pop culture. The film was nominated for several Golden Globes Awards, and Streep landed the Academy Award for Best Actress for her powerful performance.

2012 Court Ruling

On June 12, 2012, closure was brought to the case when an Australian coroner made a final ruling that a dingo had taken baby Aazaria from the campsite that evening, and was in fact responsible for her death. Lindy, relieved to find closure stated, "No longer will Australians be able to say dingoes are not dangerous, and will not attack unless provoked … We love this beautiful country, but it is dangerous." She added, ''We would ask all Australians to be aware of this and take appropriate actions, and not wait for somebody else to do it for them.''

After divorcing Michael in 1991, Lindy married American publisher Rick Creighton. The two now live in Australia. In 1990, Lindy published her autobiography, Through My Eyes: The Autobiography of Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton.

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