Overheard on CNN.com: 'Shame it took so long' for dingo ruling to be reached
Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton shows reporters Azaria's death certificate outside a court in Darwin on Tuesday.
June 12th, 2012
01:23 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: 'Shame it took so long' for dingo ruling to be reached

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Azaria Chamberlain was just 2 months old when she disappeared from a tent during a family trip to Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock. A coroner ruled Tuesday that a dingo, a wild dog native to Australia, caused her death. The girl's mother, Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton, was sentenced to life in jail; the conviction was later overturned. Meryl Streep starred in a movie about the incident, burning the cries of "the dingo's got my baby" into popular consciousness. Chamberlain-Creighton said she was "relieved and delighted to come to the end of this saga."

Readers debated the case, the animal in question, justice and popular culture references to the case.

Coroner rules dingo to blame for Australian baby's death

For many, this new development in the dingo saga brings a sense of closure.

Leigh2: "What a hard life that poor woman has had. You can see it in her face. She and her husband may have won money from a lawsuit, but she and her family have paid dearly themselves over the accusations of murdering their own baby. Besides their child being snatched by a big canine and knowing their baby died a horrible death, that all had to be an immense strain on them. I saw the movie based on what happened years ago. It was a very emotional and upsetting movie. One that I vowed to only view once. So sad. :-("

Plenty of other readers talked about the impact of "A Cry in the Dark," the movie about the incident.

dfwenigma: "When I saw 'A Cry in the Dark' I was completely overwhelmed. This couple was simply trying to make a go of it. Personally I think living out there in the middle of nowhere was probably not a great decision for a couple with a baby, however, they absolutely had the right to do so ... let's lay off the politics in these postings - a child lost her life thirty years ago - and the mother is finally vindicated. That calls for celebration for her - and mourning for the poor child."

NanookoftheNorth: "I feel the same about 'Sophie's Choice' ... only saw it once and it has left a life-time impression on me. Like 'A Cry In The Dark', both movies starred the young and just starting out in her career, Meryl Streep. We could see then that brillant actress was going places ... the Katharine Hepburn of our time !"

This reader was critical of the way the case was portrayed.

Andyvon: "As is always the case with Hollywood – the film was not a documentary. The film wasn't very accurate and it ended with Lindy Chamberlain's conviction leaving the viewer to believe she did kill her child. The film came out while Lindy Chamberlain was still in prison and before the evidence was discovered that proved her innocence. That's usually the way with films 'based on a true story'. Hollywood doesn't do documentaries. The problem with that is that any film-watcher who doesn't know the true story is invariably left with an inaccurate, incorrect, and often fabricated version of events. They then think that's actually what happened."

The case has made deep memories for some.

Davidji: "I was a teen when I saw this trial and it was just a 20th century version of the Salem witch trials. There were rumours about her religion, the childs name, human sacrifice rituals ... it was back fence gossip gone mad."

Is it worth the risk to take a child into the wild?

NativeFLXX: "Not really a good idea to take a defenseless infant into the wilderness, but I say the same thing about people who take small children on offshore boating trips. We're all just part of the food chain."

Another felt terrible for the mother.

Bull13: "She tried to tell us this 30 years ago. Why didn't we listen? So much heartache could have been avoided. I hope this gives the family some amount of peace and closure."

Some readers had questions and opinions about the particulars of the case's many mysteries. Azaria's body was never found, although her bloodstained singlet, jumpsuit and diaper were discovered near the campsite one week after she disappeared.

Alfred Moya: "But how do they know? What evidence did they use to prove this or was is simply a concession that they have no other explanation. Where are the DNA samples of Dingo saliva or blood? How about the corpse? Did the dingo digest the entire baby with clothing and all?"

Alonzoy: "They actually found the baby's clothes, though there was some speculation as to how the Dingo would have been able to remove the clothes with relatively little damage. Further, there have been a number of reported Dingo attacks since the claims, which makes the story plausible. They never found the body so it's assumed the Dingo would have consumed the whole thing ..."

Some people say they have encountered a dingo in the wild.

kahn90: "I was actually at Ayers Rock in 1980 and I recall the dingos coming right into the campsites. Most seemed almost tame when they weren't in packs. So this case being around the same time, doesn't surprise me in the least it was a dingo attack ..."

facebook-1523469331: "My sympathies to the family. We visited Queensland in 2005 and while on Frazier Island. I came within 20 feet of a wild dingo. I am well over 200 lbs, and that critter was NOT the least bit intimidated by me. He even took an aggressive posture towards me. They are WILD dogs. I have no doubt it went down like the court ruled."

One commenter alluded to a popular nursery rhyme.

ReallyJersey: "At the time it happened, I thought the media was absolutely out of control. Historically, there have been many children attacked by animals. People hung the cradle off the ground while working in the fields specifically to keep infants safe from animal attacks. It was so common, there is a nursery rhyme titled 'Rock A Bye Baby,' cautioning mothers not to use the same tree limb as baby gets heavier, or it will break. My family camped in a place where: in the course of just one day; first,we saw deer by the roadside, then, rolling up the car windows, I almost went nose to nose with a black bear, & finally, I sat in our car laughing at a porcupine who fluffed it's quills as it refused to yield the one car wide road to us, walking down the middle of the dirt road grumbling. Camping, you are on their ground, not yours. Rabbits are a favorite dingo prey, and a small infant is not much bigger. It is a shame it took so long for the courts to give the parents this ruling. This should have happened after the infant's clothing was found independently in a dingo den site. These parents deserved better."

A few folks complained about some of the joking that was going on.

TopHat123: "Its ripe for jokes because of the dingo but its a story about a death of an infant."

Others weren't terribly familiar with the dingo story.

NewGawker: "I always wondered where that dingo ate my baby line came from."

Is a story that happened 30 years ago still relevant?

elidude: "This just in: What we knew 30 years ago! A mother is not responsible for her child's death via dingo. Now on to the cricket scores..."

Tyke: "30 years ago she went to jail for several years that death and even the final inquest (before this one) never fully exonerated her."

GroundHog00: "In other news, Jack the Ripper was convicted yesterday of the murder of 16 ladies of the evening ..."

What do you think happened? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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Filed under: Animals • Australia • Justice • Overheard on CNN.com
soundoff (10 Responses)

    Guilty before innocent is just as prone to public pressure as is innocent till guilty.
    What truth is can never be known in cases such as this; maybe that is why in US Justice is half naked as well as blind.

    June 12, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  2. banasy©

    I am glad this family's ordeal is finally over.
    They lost their childj she lost her freedom...
    I hope the family can put this behind them now.
    I wish them luck.

    June 12, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Peter A

    I was in my late teens when this saga started. Now I'm in my 50's. Gee it took a long time for justice to be delivered.

    June 12, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • JohnC

      Justice was delivered when Lindy Chamberlain was sentenced to prison for murder. What has happened since is an injustice.

      June 12, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
  4. a dingo ate Trayvon Martin

    So now you know what really happened there.

    June 12, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
  5. D.Bracer

    ERIN BURNETT NEEDS TO ISSUE THE CHAMBERLAINS AN IMMEDIATE AND HEARTFELT APOLOGY! Very poor taste just now making fun of the Lindy Chamberlain case with your Australian accent & "Seinfeld" reference - the death of this child haunted that family for 30 years, her mother unjustly went to prison and a baby was eaten alive by animals – and you end your segment with a joke?? Erin MOCKS a grieving mother's realization that her baby girl is being eaten by a wild dog after seeing blood all over the tent and crib, and Erin finds it humerous? Shame on her – -CNN ought to fire ERIN BURNETT for her insensitivity and lack of moral judgement!! No "journalist" should be acting that way when reporting a sad news story like this!

    June 12, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. JohnC

    This case has not been solved. A coroner considering the matter 32 years after the event is no more likely to be right than the previous three coroners.

    The only full inquiry – weeks of hearings and hundreds of witnesses – was the criminal trial, at the end of which 12 jurors unanimously ruled that Lindy Chamberlain had murdered her daughter. That decision cannot be ignored – it was probably the right one.

    The local policeman, who was almost first on the scene, remains convinced of human intervention. Why presume Lindy is innocent, when a jury found otherwise – beyond reasonable doubt?

    All that has happened since the trial is that some of Azaria's clothes were found – folded [not something a dingo would do!] – which doesn't assist Lindy's case.

    June 12, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amused

      John, Where did you hear that Azaria's clothes were found "folded"???? Can you please cite your reference?

      June 15, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jacquelene Salzke

    A dingo took the baby, this has been recognized. Lindy did not kill her baby, no way. I have said that all along, I felt it in my heart the first time I saw the look of heartbreak and utter dispair in her eyes.
    If I go to heaven when I die I know for sure Lindy will be there and if she isn't it woun't be because she killed Azuria.
    I have noticed people saying that they should not have taken a baby into that type of area camping. I can tell you thousands of Aussies regard camping a very special thingfor a family to do. This is a time when they can sit around a camp fire ,telling yarns and in most cases you find out more about the people you love and grow closer as a family when you are camping.I don't know what it is but trust me it is true. God bless this family now and always. Love from an Aussie mum.

    June 12, 2012 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. D.L.Contostavlos

    This case demonstrates the damage done by professional expert court testifiers using questionable experitise to persuade gullible juries by prima donna tactics.

    June 13, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |