Dingo Ate My Baby' Case Reopened
Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton and ex-husband Michael Chamberlain, pictured here in 1982, pled not guilty to a charge of murdering their infant daughter, who they claimed was abducted by a dingo.
Before their rescue on Wednesday, three Ohio women -- Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight -- endured a living nightmare for a decade. Kidnapped and held captive in the house of Ariel Castro, whose brothers are suspected of being accomplices in his crime, questions are now being raised over how the three women could have been hidden and trapped for so long.
In 2012, there were 661,593 missing person records entered with the Federal Bureau of Investigation's National Crime Information Center. But of those, the vast majority, 659,514 to be precise, were cleared or canceled because the subject returned home or law enforcement quickly tracked the missing person down. Ninety-four percent of children who are kidnapped are found within the first three days.
For the rare cases such as the one that occurred in Ohio, three long-term abductions by strangers, even with a rescue, there's really no such thing as a happy ending.
Kidnapped in 2002 at age 14, Elizabeth Smart was among the most high-profile missing person cases in the United States. During her 9-month captivity, her kidnapper, Brian David Mitchell, who had been hired by Smart's mother to fix the family's roof, forced her to consume alcohol and watch pornography, and he repeatedly raped her.
The attention her case received during her confinement, however, helped bring it to a conclusion by a biker who reported spotting Smart. Her captors, Mitchell and his accomplice Wanda Barzee, were sentenced to life in prison and 15 years in prison, respectively, for their crimes.
Since her rescue, Smart has become a vocal advocate for kidnapping and sexual abuse victims.
For 18 years starting in 1991, when she was 11 years old, Jaycee Lee Dugard was held captive and abused by sex offender Phillip Craig Garrido and his wife, Nancy. Abducted while walking home from school, Dugard would be handcuffed and chained at Garrido's house. During the time with the Garridos, Dugard bore two daughters, 11 and 15 years old at the time she was released from her homemade prison. As is the case with many other kidnappings that endure this long, there were several missed opportunities to rescue her from her ordeal, particularly given that Garrido had a criminal record.
In 1998, on her way to school in Vienna, Austria, Natascha Kampusch, then 10 years old, was abducted by Wolfgang Priklopi. For the next eight and a half years, Priklopi kept her as a sex slave in a small, windowless, underground cell. Kampusch eventually managed to escape on her own, leading Priklopi to commit suicide that same day.
This is the face of Josef Fritzl, who held his daughter, Elisabeth Fritzl, captive for 24 years in his house in Amstetten, Austria. Over that time, he physically and sexually abused her frequently, fathering seven children with her. Following her ordeal, Elisabeth suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, and her children still require therapy.
In the case of Shasta Groene, she and her brother, Dylan, were kidnapped by serial killer and sex offender Joseph Edward Duncan III, who brutally murdered her mother, older brother and her mother's fiance, in Coeur' DAlene, Idaho. Groene was rescued weeks later when she was recognized while at a restaurant with Duncan; her brother Dylan's remains were found weeks after that.
Michael Devlin, pictured here, was sentenced to 74 life sentences for kidnapping, child molestation and child pornography. He was arrested in 2007 during a search for a boy, William Benjamin Ownby, who had been missing for four days. However, Ownby wasn't alone. Devlin had another captive that he had been holding for four years, Shawn Hornbeck, who went missing when he was 11 years old. Hornbeck went on to create a foundation to support the search and rescue of missing children.
- Australian authorities will reopen the 1980 case of a child who allegedly was killed by a wild dingo.
- The child, Azaria Chambelain, was just nine weeks old when she went missing.
- Azaria's parents have blamed sloppy police work and biased media reporting for their struggle for justice.
Australia has launched a new inquiry into the death of baby Azaria Chamberlain to re-examine claims she was snatched and killed by a dingo at Uluru, or Ayers Rock, in 1980, officials said on Monday.
The Northern Territory's registrar of births, deaths and marriages is examining the case after an emotional plea from Azaria's mother to change the death certificate to blame a dingo for the bizarre killing.
The registrar has called for submissions and new evidence from both Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton and ex-husband Michael Chamberlain. Both were convicted for the death but later exonerated in a case which made global headlines.
"He has written to both Mrs. Chamberlain-Creighton and Mr. Chamberlain inviting them to contribute to the inquiry and he awaits their responses," the Outback region's justice department said in a statement.
The department added it was "too soon to speculate" whether there would be a fourth inquest, after a coroner in 1995 recorded an open verdict.
However, Chamberlain said he had been informally told authorities were moving to set up an inquest early next year, adding that he was confident of finally proving Azaria was stolen by a dingo.
New evidence includes details of other attacks by Australia's native wild dog on humans, including one in which a nine-year-old boy was killed in 2001, he told Fairfax newspapers.
"It's justice for Azaria," he said, according to public broadcaster ABC. "Her spirit does not rest because the truth was never told about how she actually died."
Azaria was just nine weeks old when she went missing on August 17, 1980 during a camping trip to Uluru, the evocative red monolith in the heart of Australia's Outback. Her body was never found.
The case inspired 1988 hit film "A Cry in the Dark", starring Meryl Streep and Sam Neill, along with books, a TV mini-series and even an opera, and was followed closely by foreign media, making it a global cause celebre.
Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton was jailed for murder two years after her daughter went missing, despite an initial inquest that backed her explanation the baby was snatched by a dingo, and spent three years in prison.
The convictions of Lindy and Michael, who was given a suspended term for being an accessory, were overturned in 1988 after the chance find of a piece of Azaria's clothing near a dingo lair.
However, a third inquest in 1995 recorded an open finding, outraging the two parents.
"The result of that was really quite appalling and we were very upset," Chamberlain told ABC.
Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton released a statement on the incident's 30th anniversary in August calling for a new death certificate, prompting Northern Territory attorney-general Delia Lawrie to order a review of the case.
"I am fair-dinkum about this inquiry," Lawrie said, according to ABC. "I think it is a reasonable and decent thing to do."
Azaria's parents have blamed sloppy police work and biased media reporting -- including suggestions she was sacrificed in a religious ritual -- for their struggle for justice.