Possibly Australia's most infamous disappearance.
On August 17, 1980 the Chamberlain family went camping at Ayres Rock. This turned into the camping trip from hell when nine weeks old baby Azaria disappeared from the tent. Mother Lindy claimed a dingo had dragged the baby away but (as this had never happened before) authorities did not believe her and after two years of court cases convicted her to life imprisonment for the murder of her daughter, father Michael was convicted of being an accessory to murder.
Three years later another inquiry overturned the sentence and they were released from jail. All sorts of wild theories had developed around this case, including the baby having been sacrificed in a religious ritual. The whole scenario was later made into a book and movie, Evil Angels, starring Meryl Streep and they did various book deals with publishers to bring their side of the story to the world.
Recent dingo attacks on tourists and children, particularly on Fraser Island, support the claim made by Lindy all those years ago. Lindy Chamberlain told her version of the story in her 1990 autobiography, Through My Eyes, which was made into a movie.
A new twist to the story...
In July 2004 an elderly Melbourne man claimed he knew what had happened that fateful night. 78 year old Frank Cole told reporters that he and three mates were camping at Uluru in 1980 when he went out with his rifle to shoot some food for his dog. Around dusk he thought he saw a rabbit in the bush and shot it, to find he had shot a dingo that had a baby in his mouth. He then took the baby, which had several puncture wounds to her head and an ear missing, back to his mates. As the guys had broken several laws having a gun in the park and having shot a dingo, they decided that two would drive back to Melbourne with the gun and the other two would talk to the police and tell them they had hit the dingo on the road and discovered the baby in its mouth.
The two, however, never did talk to police and as time passed on, all the men died one by one. This left Frank Cole as the sole survivor, who now wanted to tell his story before he would die too, taking this mystery to the grave with him. He thought one of the other men might have buried the baby in his backyard in Melbourne. The current owner of the house was driven nuts by journalists banging on his door and another possible house yard where the body could be could not be dug up as the site was now occupied by a large block of units.
Police are investigating his claims, the police man that was on duty on the fateful night said there were a few holes in Frank's story, Lindy's lawyers of the time seemed to believe him, but Lindy herself did not. The plot thickened even more when it was reported on the TV show 'A current affair' in July 2004 that Azaria could still be alive and Lindy was investigating a claim that a fair skinned woman in her twenties was living with Aborigines in the central Australian desert.
Yet another twist...
In August 2005, 25 year old Alice Springs woman Erin Horsburgh contacted her local newspaper the Centralian Advocate with the message that she is Azaria Chamberlain!
She claims she was found by an Aboriginal man, passed to an Aboriginal woman and then handed on to a white woman. Also she says her skin bears dingo teeth scars, and she has frequent dingo nightmares and a family resemblance. Both police and the Alice Springs locals found her story a bit hard to believe but Erin insists on a DNA test to prove her claims. It was reported in the media that Erin wanted money for her story but she contacted us with a strongly worded email that this was not the case and she simply wanted people to know the truth. So we invited her to tell her story but have not heard from her again.