*When crime scenes are poorly processed the results can ruin lives. This true
story is a perfect example.
After reading the story, answer these questions to turn in for homework.
1. Why did the police think that Lindy killed her daughter? List the reasons.
2. What did the police do wrong in processing the crime scene? List as many as
you can find.
3. What do you think the police did right in this case - all the way through the
On the 17th August 1980, the Chamberlain family was camping at Uluru in Australia's
Northern Territory, when at around eight o'clock at night, they heard a cry from the tent
where their ten week old baby girl and four year old son were sleeping.
Rushing to the tent, the mother of the child, Lindy saw a dingo near the tent's entrance
and upon entering, realised with horror that her baby daughter Azaria, was missing and
all that remained was a pool of blood on the floor. The police arrived and a search was
organized but no traces of the baby were found.
The Chamberlains were interviewed the next morning and only some of the bloodstained
items were removed from the tent, with many being left behind. The family was
interviewed again later on that same day, by a different officer who thought the
Chamberlains' recounts of the previous night were suspicious.
A week passed and no new evidence was found, that is, until a tourist found Azaria's vest
and jumpsuit. But despite this new piece of evidence, the crime scene was not
sealed off and a full examination of the clothing was never conducted. This lack
of proper crime scene and evidence analysis led the police to believe that Lindy
Chamberlain was lying about her story.
The lack of dingo bite marks and saliva on Azaria's jumpsuit and the fact that the baby's
shoes were still tied inside the jumpsuit while the vest was inside out, heightened the
police's suspicion even further. In 1981, it was however, concluded that Azaria was
indeed taken by a dingo, allowing Lindy and Michael Chamberlain to at last get over the
accusations after the tragic loss of their child and move on with everyday life.
This was however, not to be the case, because after a later analysis of the baby's
clothing, it was found that there was a bloody handprint in the shape of a women's hand,
reopening the case in 1982.
Analysis of the Chamberlains' car also revealed a pair of scissors, baby's blood and some
experts claimed that the rip marks on the baby's clothing were actually scissor stab
marks. And so it was with this new evidence that another court case was held on the 2nd
The case concluded for what was thought to be the last time, when Lindy was convicted
with murder of her daughter and sentenced to life in prison. After serving six years in
prison, there was a turn in the case when baby Azaria's jacket was unbelievably, found
partly buried at Uluru.
Just five days later, Lindy was immediately released from prison, but to this day, nobody
knows the exact truth and we'll probably never know.