The man accused of abducting Western Australian girl Cleo Smith from her family tent has shared multiple photos of himself with Bratz dolls to social media.
The man accused of abducting Western Australian girl Cleo Smith from her family’s campsite has been identified as Carnarvon man Terence Darrell Kelly.
The 36-year-old was apprehended by WA Police after detectives raided his Tonkin Crescent residence at 12.46am on Wednesday, allegedly retrieving Cleo in the process.
WA Police Detective Senior Sergeant Cameron Blaine said his team found Cleo in physically good health sitting in a bedroom in Mr Kelly’s house.
“The lights were on and she was playing with toys, I think that’s about all I want to say. This is still a matter that needs to go before the courts. There’s certain aspects about what we saw that is going to be evidence,” he said.
Mr Kelly was subsequently charged with forcibly or fraudulently taking or enticing a child on Thursday. He was remanded in custody for four weeks.
Responding to questions on Thursday, the head of Taskforce Rodia, Superintendent Rod Wilde, declined to comment on whether a doll collection was found inside Mr Kelly’s house.
Mr Kelly posted photos to Facebook in April 2020 in his car with a doll, while other photos show Mr Kelly posing for selfies with Bratz dolls in the frame.
More images shared to Mr Kelly’s Facebook account show bookcases full of dolls.
WA Premier Mark McGowan praised police analysts and detectives on Thursday as media descended on the small town.
“They analyse a lot of the phone material … and that’s a painstaking job as there’s thousands and thousands of calls that need to be looked at,” he said.
“That’s a massive task, they did it methodically and in a very painstaking way to uncover information and I’d just like to thank them.
“I think there was a lot of information that put the clues together, it was both human intelligence, detective work around the town and also analytical work.”
Cleo was allegedly abducted from the family tent at the Quobba Blowholes campground in the early hours of October 16.
The girl woke up to ask her mum for water at about 1.30am. When Ellie Smith and Cleo’s stepfather Jake Gliddon woke up at around 6am, they found her missing, sparking a massive search.
Initially it was believed she had wandered off in the middle of the night, but police soon began to suspect she had been abducted.
Police allege her sleeping bag was also missing and the entrance to the tent was unzipped to a height that the young girl could not have reached to let herself out – suggesting she had been taken.
A team of more than 100 officers and analysts worked around the clock for weeks, sifting through mountains of information including witness statements, calls to Crime Stoppers, CCTV and mobile phone data.
“There are thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of pieces of information, it‘s really joining the dots,” lead investigator Detective Superintendent Rod Wild said on Thursday.
“We were looking for something that occurred at the Blowholes, this information would be relevant to that, so we could track people in certain locations at certain times. That is what we look to identify, and from that we build a picture of who was there and who shouldn’t have been there, then to us identifying this person.”
A key clue was a car spotted speeding away from the campsite at around 3am on the night Cleo was taken.
Asked if Mr Kelly was the driver of the car, Mr Wilde said, “That hasn’t been confirmed as yet, but certainly we would say that that car was significant and it was in the right time frame.”