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Inside the search for Australia’s ‘Madeleine McCann’ as girl, 4, feared abducted – World News

Cleo Smith went missing from her tent at a campsite two weeks ago and no trace of her has so far been found in a case that has been compared to the disappearance of ‘Madeleine McCann’

Cleo Smith has now been missing for two weeks as police continue to appeal for information

Friends of a missing girl’s family have told how they joined the initial search for the missing toddler hoping she was just playing a game before realising she was probably abducted.

The initial search for four-year-old Cleo Smith, who has now been missing for two weeks, involved close friends after she disappeared from the Blowholes campsite near Carnarvon, Australia.

It is a case that has shocked the country and is being compared to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

Cleo’s mum Ellie had discovered that the toddler was missing from the tent around 6am and that was when the search got underway on October 16.








Cleo’s mum Ellie noticed she was missing around 6am in the morning and started the search
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Image:

Facebook)



The conditions with remote terrain meant it was difficult to search the area with some people using quad bikes and even a drone.

Police now believe that Cleo must have been abducted as it would be strange for a four-year-old to wander very far. On top of the fact that her sleeping bag also has vanished with her.

A friend of the family is hoping that Cleo will still turn up safe and sound.

“And we were still in hope that she was just kind of coming out of a hiding spot,” one friend told The West Australian.








The search has been made a lot more complicated by the remoteness of the location
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Image:

WA Police)



“I mean, we’ve got to just hope that she shows up and that she came home in the end. I mean, you can’t lose hope otherwise you start to lose yourself.”

Police have said they were at the campsite less than an hour after Cleo was found to be not in the tent by her mum.

A call was logged at 6.23am by Ellie to say that her daughter was missing – almost straight away – despite having initially felt that she spent hours looking for Cleo first.

“Police arrived at 7.10am and by 7.26am set up a protected site,” revealed Det Superintendent Rob Wilde.




Then by 11am homicide detectives were at the scene and searches were taking place of cars at the campsite.

Det Supt Wilde said that police had responded to around 200 possible sightings of Cleo around the country but none have been the little girl.

“Unfortunately all of those have proved unfruitful,” Mr Wilde said.

“That’s been national as well, other policing jurisdictions have helped us and followed those leads through for us, so we’re very grateful for that.”




Police are still appealing for information and believe she was abducted but they have no suspects yet.

They are trying to gather more information over a car that left the campsite at about 3am with its tyres heard to be screeching.

More than 100 visitors to the Blowholes campsite so far have been interviewed.

“We do however believe there are still other campers that were staying in that Blowholes vicinity who we have not yet identified,” he said.


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