The search for Cleo Smith has come to an end after the four-year-old was found alive inside a “locked house” in the early hours of the morning.
Four-year-old Cleo Smith has been found “alive and well” in Western Australia, with the 18 day search for the missing girl finally coming to an end.
Detectives found Cleo in the early hours of this morning after breaking their way into a house in Carnarvon, about 70km from the campsite where the four-year-old disappeared.
“It’s my privilege to announce that in the early hours of this morning, the Western Australia Police Force rescued Cleo Smith,” Deputy Commissioner Col Blanch said in a statement.
“Cleo is alive and well.
“A Police team broke their way into a locked house in Carnarvon about 1am. They found little Cleo in one of the rooms.
“One of the officers picked her up into his arms and asked her ‘what’s your name?’
She said – ‘My name is Cleo’.”
Cleo we reunited with her parents a short time later.
Deputy Commissioner Blanch said a man from Carnarvon is now is custody and is being questioned by police.
He thanked investigators, Cleo’s parents, the Western Australian community and the many volunteers who helped in the search for the missing girl.
“This is the outcome we all hoped and prayed for. It’s the outcome we’ve achieved because of some incredible police work,” he said.
Deputy Commissioner Blanch said investigators would have more to say on Cleo’s rescue as the day unfolds.
“For now – Welcome home Cleo,” he said.
Cleo disappeared from the family tent at the Quobba Blowholes campground, in Macleod near Carnarvon in Western Australia’s north, on October 16.
Investigators believed the girl was abducted in the early hours of the morning, after ruling out that she would have been able to wander our of the tent on her own.
Her mum, Ellie Smith, said her daughter woke up at 1.30am asking for water before going back to bed.
Ms Smith then woke up at about 6am to find the tent unzipped and Cleo missing. The Police were called just before 6.30am.
For weeks officers have been questioning people who were at the campsite, mapping CCTV cameras, using drones to help with the search and even shifting through tonnes of rubbish for any clues to her whereabouts.
Abduction likely an ‘opportunistic’ event
Lead investigator into Cleo’s disappearance, Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde revealed on Tuesday that police believed the four-year-old was likely targeted in an “opportunistic type event”.
“We know they got there … on the Friday night. It was getting dark and so there would have been limited opportunity for people to observe Cleo at that time,” he told 6PR radio.
Superintendent Wilde said police were examining how someone could take Cleo from the tent without attracting attention.
“That’s what we’re trying to resolve, that’s what were trying to understand,” he said on Tuesday.
“We’re doing a lot of work forensically … we’ve had over 1000 calls to Crime Stoppers.”
More to come.
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