It's a phrase synonymous with "the dog ate my homework." But for years, Michael Chamberlain tried to convince the world that it was true, that in the reported words of his former wife, "the dingo took my baby." He died Monday at age 72 of complications from leukemia decades after finally establishing the truth. He and his then-wife Lindy had been camping with their 9-week-old daughter Azaria during a trip to Uluru in the Australian Outback in 1980 when the infant disappeared, per the AP. The couple claimed wild dogs took her, but authorities accused Lindy Chamberlain of slitting Azaria's throat and burying her body, which was never found, based on forensic evidence suggesting Azaria's blood was in the family's car, per the BBC.
Lindy Chamberlain was sentenced to life in prison for murder in 1982, while Michael Chamberlain was found to be an accessory after the fact and given an 18-month suspended sentence. However, both convictions were overturned when Azaria's jacket was found near dingo dens in 1984; the forensic evidence was eventually discredited. "You can get justice even when you think that all is lost," Michael Chamberlain, who split from his wife in 1991 and went on to write several books on the case, said in 2012 after a coroner ruled Azaria had been snatched by a dingo, reports the AAP. On Twitter, actor Sam Neill, who portrayed Chamberlain in the 1988 film A Cry in the Dark opposite Meryl Streep's Lindy, described him as "an impressive man" with a "quiet unassuming dignity," who was "terribly, cruelly wronged." (Read more Australia stories.)