Cleo Smith’s friend made a ‘strange’ prediction to his mother the night before the little girl was found inside a locked home after an 18-day ordeal.
The mother of one of Cleo Smith’s classmates has told of her son’s “strange” prediction the night before the miracle discovery.
Cleo was found inside the bedroom of a locked home in Carnarvon, just a few minutes drive from her family home.
Police said she was found alone and playing with toys about 1am. She appeared physically unharmed.
A 36-year-old local man is now in custody.
Speaking to Sunrise on Thursday morning, Latisha Andreoli, whose son Jonah is in Cleo’s class at school, said her son believed police would find his friend.
Though, she confessed, she wasn’t sure how much her four-year-old boy could understand about the baffling case.
“It has been really difficult for everybody,” she said.
“Jonah is only four, so he is quite limited in what he can understand of the situation.
“But it is quite strange that the night before Cleo was found he asked us about it and he said, ‘Cleo is lost, Cleo is gone’.
“And then he was like, ‘Maybe we will find her’.”
She said the family then woke to the miraculous news that Cleo had been found.
“I take my hat off to the police, they have done an amazing job. I can’t imagine what it must have been like for them to walk in and see little Cleo there,” Ms Andreoli said.
The four-year-old disappeared from her family’s tent at the Quobba Blowholes campground near Carnarvon in the early hours of October 16.
Police feared she had been abducted because the tent zipper was open to a height Cleo couldn’t reach.
She had been missing for 18 days when detectives received a late-night lead that led officers to a house in the town, just minutes away from Cleo’s family home.
It was there that they found the youngster inside.
Deputy Commissioner Col Blanch announced Cleo had been found “alive and well” on Wednesday morning.
“One of the officers picked her up into his arms and asked her ‘what’s your name?’. She said: ‘My name is Cleo’,” he said.
Cleo was reunited with her parents in hospital a short time later. She has since been released.
A 36-year-old local man is still being questioned by police over the saga and is expected to be charged at some stage on Thursday.
He has been described as “quiet” and “lonely”, but neighbours still expressed shock following his arrest.
He was not known to Cleo’s family but lived nearby in town.
Neighbours said the man had been “acting weird” and “strange” lately and had been seen purchasing nappies despite not having a child.
One neighbour said the man’s dog was usually at the back of the house but had more recently been at the front.
Cleo’s mother Ellie Smith on Wednesday also spoke for the first time after her girl was miraculously found alive, sharing a photo on Instagram with the words “Our family is whole again”.