Missing girl Cleo Smith found ‘alive and well’ in locked Carnarvon home, Western Australia Police confirm

By: David Wu and Crystal Wu
Western Australia Police confirmed they have found four-year-old girl Cleo Smith inside a locked home in the early hours of Wednesday morning after going missing for 17 days.A team of officers broke into a Carnarvon home on Tonkin Crescent around 1am where they found Cleo in one of the rooms.Cleo was picked up by one of the cops and asked what her name was.She responded, “My name is Cleo”.
Deputy Police Commissioner Col Blanch confirmed Cleo was reunited with her parents “a short time later”.“This is the outcome we all hoped and prayed for,” he said.“It’s the outcome we’ve achieved because of some incredible police work.”“I want to thank Cleo’s parents, the West Australian community and the many volunteers.“And of course I want to thank my colleagues in the Western Australian Police Force.”He revealed a 36-year-old Carnarvon man, not believed to be linked to the family, has been arrested and is currently being questioned by detectives.The road has been closed with police declaring the house a crime scene.
Western Australia Police confirmed the suspicious car they were searching for in the missing case of four-year-old Cleo Smith led a team of officers to a home where the little girl was found.Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said he could not provide detailed information at this stage but said the vehicle gave them the biggest lead as to where Cleo could have been taken.He was quizzed by hosts Kyle Sandilands and Jackie “O” on their KIIS1065 breakfast radio show on what clue guided the officers to a Carnarvon home.“Look, me and Deputy Commissioner (Col) Blanch and others talked about … we were trying to find a car. I’ll leave it at that,” he said on Wednesday morning, just hours after the little girl was found.“But at the same time we were following a really methodical thorough way of eliminating and tracing everyone that had been in and around that area.“That is the way we found her.”
Cleo was holidaying with her family a the remote Blowholes campsite in Macleod, about 50 kilometres north of Carnarvon, when she disappeared during the early hours of Saturday October 16.The family last saw the four-year-old in the tent at about 1:30am when she asked for some water but when they woke up at 6am, Cleo was nowhere to be seen.Early in the search efforts, police released an image of a sleeping bag and a onesie which resembled the one Cleo was last seen sleeping in.On the fifth day of the search police confirmed the zipper had been zipped up so high there was no way the four-year-old could have opened it herself.WA Police believe Cleo was abducted, with the state government offering a $1 million reward for information resulting in finding her or leading to the arrest of a person or persons involved in her suspicious disappearance.
Cleo’s mother Ellie Smith and stepdad Jake Gliddon said every day was harder in the search for their daughter.Ten days after her disappearance, the pair said they were certain Cleo was abducted and is no longer in the immediate area of the Blowholes campsite.“Whoever’s watching, if the person who’s watching this has Cleo, we want her home,” Ellie told Seven’s Flashpoint, as tears rolled down her eyes.“We want her to be home with our baby. We want her back in our arms.”
On Tuesday police scoured through two trucks full of rubbish as they vowed to leave “no stone unturned”.“As part of investigations, officers collected more than 50 cubic metres of rubbish from roadside bins as far north as Minilya to as far south as Geraldton,” a police statement said on Monday.“The rubbish was packed into two trucks and transported to Perth, where four forensics and 20 officers spent two days sorting through hundreds of bags, in an effort to find any items that may assist in the investigation.”

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