Police Reveal More Details About Cleo Smith's Suspected Abductor

And the miraculous police rescue

Article heading image for Police Reveal More Details About Cleo Smith's Suspected Abductor

Four-year-old Cleo Smith has been found alive and well.

More details have emerged on the incredible police rescue of four-year-old Cleo Smith at a locked home in Carnarvon. 

After receiving a strong lead, police descended on the house at 1 am Wednesday morning, 70km from the campsite where the toddler disappeared 18 days ago. They found Cleo alive and well in one of the rooms, alone. 

Police Commissioner Chris Dawson reviewed body-worn camera footage of the rescue revealing the moment Cleo was found alive brought him to tears. 

“It unashamedly brought a tear to the eye. It’s just so remarkable, and I’m just so proud of the way they worked their way through this,” he said.

A policeman picked the little girl up and asked her “What’s your name?”

“My name is Cleo,” she replied. 

A short time later, Cleo was reunited with her family. 


Deputy Commissioner Col Blanch said after extensive searches including critical phone data, their “needle in the haystack” presented itself late Tuesday night. From there, police acted “in a heartbeat”. 

“We had a strategy very early on from day one to collect everything,” he said.
“We had to find that needle. Now, last night, that needle in the haystack came out and they acted in a heartbeat. But there were lots of things, that when we put the puzzle together it all led to one place, and that’s where we found Cleo,” he continued.

Information received on Tuesday night rapidly “snowballed”, leading police to find Cleo.

As a 36-year-old Carnarvon man is in custody, being questioned by police, neighbours have revealed new information about the “quiet” man’s movements leading up to Cleo being found. 

One man told Sunrise he thought it was odd when they saw him buying nappies at Woolworths, knowing he did not have children. 

“The other day – on Monday – we saw him in Woolworths buying Kimbies and that. But we didn’t click on what he was buying them for. Everyone knows the person who stays at that house, but no one would have thought it would be him. We were shocked,” he told reporters.

Cleo’s mother Ellie Smith updated her Instagram telling followers “our heart is whole again.” 

Cleo Smith went missing from her family’s campsite at the Carnarvon Blowholes in the early hours of Saturday, October 16.

More to come. 

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Triple M Newsroom

3 November 2021

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