Four-year-old Cleo Smith was finally found 18 days after she went missing from her family’s tent at the Quobba Blowholes camping ground in Macleod, Australia
Police searching for Cleo Smith found her after a remarkable “needle in a haystack” clue led to her discovery.
Despite the chances of finding the little girl alive rapidly diminishing as each day passed, Australian officers acting on a tip off searched a property just seven minutes from her home.
A taskforce of 100 officers were sent in from the state capital, Perth, to join a massive air, land and sea search.
They were joined by bounty hunters from across the country, who scoured the state in the hope of finding the young girl.
Acting Police Commissioner Col Blanch said: “Intelligence led them to that house. They went into that house, Cleo was in the house alone.”
A 36-year-old man was arrested in connection with Cleo’s disappearance, ending an agonising 18 day search that gripped Australia.
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
WESTERN AUSTRALIAN POLICE FORCE/)
In moving bodycam footage after Cleo was found, a cop introduces himself to the her before asking: “Are you ok?”
Little is known about how police came to get that intelligence, beyond their being an important tip-off on Tuesday night.
Western Australia’s Deputy Police Commissioner Col Blanch said: “We’ve collected phone data, witness statements, DNA, fingerprints, rubbish along the highways, CCTV – we’ve collected everything.
“We had to find that needle. Last night the needle in the haystack came out and they acted in a heartbeat.”
This, combined with phone data and several “forensic leads”, led them to the suspect, Commissioner Chris Dawson said.
Police broke into a house in Carnarvon, a town about 100 km (62 miles) south of the campsite, early on Wednesday morning and found Cleo in one of the rooms.
JAMES CARMODY/ABC NEWS POOL/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)
Western Australia Police have confirmed the man arrested is not connected to Cleo’s family.
Police said the abduction appears to have been opportunistic and they expect to file charges later in the day.
When Cleo went missing on October 16 she was on the first night of a holiday at the Quobba Blowholes camping ground.
The remote site is 560 miles north of Perth and is known for its sea caves and lagoons.
Cleo had gone to bed for the night on an air mattress next to her sister’s cot in a tent.
When her mum woke up the next day the young girl was gone and the tent door was left open.
Ms Smith was adamant that her daughter could not have left the tent by herself, instantly leading to fears that she had been abducted.
Denial of responsibility! Swiftheadline is an automatic aggregator around the global media. All the content are available free on Internet. We have just arranged it in one platform for educational purpose only. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials on our website, please contact us by email – email@example.com. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.