HomeCleo Smith found: First words after missing girl rescued, mum speaks

Cleo Smith found: First words after missing girl rescued, mum speaks



The mother of missing four-year-old girl Cleo Smith has broken her silence after her daughter was rescued this morning.

The mother of missing four-year-old girl Cleo Smith has broken her silence after her daughter was rescued this morning.

“Our family is whole again,” Ellie Smith posted on Instagram, sharing an image of a news alert about Cleo’s discovery.

Cleo, who had been missing for 18 days after disappearing from the family tent at the Quobba Blowholes campground, in Macleod near Carnarvon in Western Australia’s north, on October 16, was found “alive and well” in the early hours of Wednesday morning, police said.

“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 was reunited with her parents a short time later. This is the outcome we all hoped and prayed for. It’s the outcome we’ve achieved because of some incredible police work. I want to thank Cleo’s parents, the Western Australian community and the many volunteers.

“And of course, I want to thank my colleagues in the Western Australia Police Force. I can confirm we have a man from Carnarvon in custody who is currently being questioned by detectives.

“We’ll have more to say on the rescue of Cleo as the day unfolds. For now – welcome home, Cleo.”

It comes after police on Tuesday said it was “more than likely” Cleo’s abduction was an “opportunistic type event”.

Cleo woke up at 1.30am that night, was given some water and went back to sleep. Her mother Ellie Smith realised she was missing at about 6am.

Her sleeping bag was missing and the entrance to the tent was unzipped to a height that the young girl could not have reached to let herself out – signs she may have been abducted in the middle of the night.

“It’s more than likely an opportunistic type event,” lead investigator Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde told 6PR Radio.

“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 said police were examining how someone could have taken her from the tent without attracting attention.

“That’s what we’re trying to resolve, that’s what were trying to understand,” he said.

“We’re doing a lot of work forensically … we’ve had over 1000 calls to Crime Stoppers.”

As of Tuesday, Superintendent Wilde said police had spoken to more than 110 people at the campsite but wanted “less than a handful” of others to provide information.

Police had stressed that Ms Smith and Cleo’s stepfather Jake Gliddon were not suspects.

Mr Blanch told ABC Radio on Tuesday that police believed Cleo was still in WA.

The search for Cleo involved hi-tech forensics, including mapping every inch of the area using drones and satellite technology.

“We’ve tracked down people that we didn’t know, we’ve found them and we have eliminated them, and that’s our focus at the moment — eliminate as many people as possible,” he said.

Last week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison revealed that the Australian Federal Police were using secret technology and tactics to help find the missing girl.

“In terms of technology and tradecraft, the AFP have some very advanced capabilities, leading edge, not just here in Australia but all around the world,” he told 6PR Radio.

“As much as I’d love to reveal exactly what some of those are, and how they’re being used, we certainly can’t talk about that on air.

“But the AFP are there, they’ve joined that process. I’m very pleased to say that they’re helping in every way they possibly can, through their intelligence capabilities, their technology and their forensics abilities.”

It was reported by 7 News that it involved a reconnaissance spy plane.

— with NCA NewsWire




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