Crime

Cleo Smith: Missing Aussie Girl Found Alive More Than 2 Weeks After Disappearing From Family Campsite

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On October 16, 4-year-old Cleo Smith disappeared from her family's vacation campsite in Western Australia.

When this happened, the family had been vacationing at the Blowholes campsite in Macleod, north of Carnarvon.

18 days later, she was discovered alive in a locked house 45 miles away from the campsite.

Her parents had last seen her around 1:30 a.m. the day she disappeared, but by 6 a.m., she was nowhere to be found when they woke up.

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The Western Australian police conducted an extensive search in surrounding areas while the state government announced a reward for any information on Cleo's whereabouts.

For most of the day, the police conducted air, land, and sea search around the area.

A sum of $1 million was promised not just for information on the little girl's location but for the arrest of anyone responsible for her disappearance.

Since her rescue, the police have released very little information about how it happened but promise to do so.

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Col Blanch, the Deputy Commissioner of the Western Australian Police, told reporters that around 12:46 a.m., officers broke into the locked Carnarvon house and found the young child in one of its rooms.

One of the officers picked her up and asked her for her name, to which she responded: "My name is Cleo."

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Blanch further reported that she had been reunited with her parents "alive and well" and attributed this success to the police force. He said:

"It's the outcome we've achieved because of some incredible police work."

Police commissioner Chris Dawson described the day of her recovery as "one of the most remarkable days in policing in Western Australia."

Although investigators believe she was abducted, the truth of the matter remains unclear. One clue that raised suspicions is that the zip on Cleo's tent was open higher than she could have reached.

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The police also said that they took a 36-year-old man into custody for questioning but released no other information at the time.

Blanch concluded his statement with the words:

"We'll have more to say on the rescue of Cleo as the day unfolds. For now - welcome home, Cleo."

Regarding those concluding words, on November 4, 36-year-old Terence Darrel Kelly, a Carnarvon resident, was charged with two offenses. One included 'forcibly taking a child under 16'.

He appeared before the Carnarvon Magistrates Court and is expected to return to court on December 6, 2021.