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Cleo Smith found: Girl, 4, discovered after 18 days due to ‘needle in haystack’ clue – World News

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

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Cleo Smith kidnap suspect seen in ambulance

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.

Four-year-old Cleo Smith recovering in hospital in Western Australia


Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

An undated handout photo received on October 21, 2021 from the Western Australian Police Force shows four-year-old Cleo Smith



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.

Cleo Smith’s mother Ellie Smith and her partner Jake Gliddon



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.

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