New inquest into three-decade-old Australian outback mystery welcomed by father of infant

Added by on December 17, 2011

SYDNEY, Australia – A coroner will hold a new inquest to determine whether a dingo could have taken a baby from a family’s tent as they camped in 1980 near the Uluru sandstone rock in central Australia.

The disappearance of baby Azaria Chamberlain is one of Australia’s most enduring mysteries.

Lindy Chamberlain insisted that she saw a wild dog carrying her baby out of the tent in its jaws. The baby was never found, but her clothes were later discovered folded and buried.

Chamberlain was convicted of murder. Her husband Michael was convicted of being an accessory in the case that sharply divided public opinion.

The government then appointed a Royal Commission to review the case. It found that faulty forensic evidence was used in the police investigation, and the convictions were overturned.

But doubts remained after an inconclusive 1995 inquest.

Sydney’s Sun-Herald newspaper reported Sunday that Northern Territory coroner Elizabeth Morris had decided to reopen the inquiry into the case after dingoes attacked several young children at Fraser Island. In 2001, two dingoes attacked and killed a 9-year-old boy.

The paper reported the coroner had written to the Chamberlains, who have since divorced, informing them she will reopen the inquest on Feb. 24 to hear new evidence about dingo attacks and whether a wild dog could have taken the child.

“I am pleasantly surprised and gratified,” Michael Chamberlain told Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio Sunday.

“It’s been 31 years and now I just hope this will be the ultimate verdict which we’ve been looking for.”

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