Missing 4-year-old Cleo Smith found 2 weeks after being torn off at the campsite – National – .

Missing 4-year-old Cleo Smith found 2 weeks after being torn off at the campsite – National – .

Police broke into a suburban home on Wednesday and rescued a 4-year-old girl whose disappearance from her family’s camping tent on Australia’s remote west coast more than two weeks ago horrified and captivated the nation.

Officials cried in relief after seeing a body camera video of a police officer picking up the girl, Cleo Smith, and hearing her say, “My name is Cleo. A 36-year-old man was arrested after the night-time raid on the home in the coastal town of Carnarvon, which followed intelligence given to police on Tuesday.

The girl was reunited with her mother Ellie Smith and her stepfather Jake Gliddon shortly after her rescue. “Our family is whole again,” the mother said on social media.

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Western Australian State Police Commissioner Chris Dawson did not say what the girl had been through. She is “as good as you might expect,” Dawson said. “It was an ordeal. I won’t go into details, other than to say that we are so grateful that she is alive.

Dawson said “hard and methodical police work” found her.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has responded from the United Arab Emirates on his way back from Scotland, thanking police for finding Cleo and supporting his family.

“It’s every parent’s worst nightmare. The fact that this nightmare has ended and our worst fears haven’t come true is just a huge relief, a moment of great joy, ”Morrison told reporters.

“This particular case, obviously, captured the hearts of Australians as we felt terrible grief for the family,” he added.

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Cleo’s family live in Carnarvon, a community of 5,000, and the girl was missing with her sleeping bag on the second day of a family camping trip to Blowholes Campground, 75 kilometers north of Carnarvon, October 16.

Ellie Smith, left, and her partner Jake Gliddon post a photo of their missing daughter, Cleo, near Carnarvon in Western Australia, Australia on October 19, 2021.

James Carmody / AAP Image / Pool via AP

A massive land and sea search was first organized in the sparsely populated area assuming it had moved away from the tent. But more evidence began to support a kidnapping.

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A vehicle was reported to be moving away from the area in the dark hours of the morning. A zipper on a flap of the tent compartment where Cleo and her sister slept was too high for the girl to reach.

Forensic scientists examined the exterior of the family home to see if a predator had tracked down Cleo and attempted to break in.

And a distraught Ellie Smith has made moving public appeals for information about her daughter’s plight that have been broadcast across Australia. NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said Dawson told him he broke down in tears when she was found.

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Fuller had called across the country from Sydney on the east coast to Perth in the west, to congratulate Dawson on the result.

“He collapsed and cried, which for a veteran police force you rarely see,” Fuller told Sydney Radio 2GB. “That says a lot about the amount of effort they put into finding her. “

“As we all hoped and prayed as the days passed, I think the chances of finding her alive were so slim,” he added.

Dawson said the body camera video of four police officers breaking into the house with a search warrant and finding the girl made him moved.

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“It’s a really happy occasion. We don’t always get those kinds of results, and although we were very, very worried, we didn’t give up hope, ”said Dawson.

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Western Australia Deputy Police Commissioner Colonel Blanch described seeing seasoned detectives “openly cry in relief.”

“We were looking for a needle in a haystack and we found it,” Blanch told Perth Radio 6PR.

“When she said, ‘My name is Cleo,’ I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house,” Blanch said, citing the girl’s words to the policeman who took her in her eyes. arm.

“To see Cleo saved this morning, I’m speechless,” added Blanch.

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The state government had offered a reward of A $ 1 million (C $ 924,826) for information five days after her disappearance, but Blanch said the money should not be claimed.

Police received information Tuesday leading them home, but the breakthrough was the result of investigators gathering evidence, Blanch said.

“There were a lot of things. There were movements of cars, there were movements of phones, there was a history of people, ”he said.

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Carnarvon Shire President Eddie Jones said the local community would be “thrilled, grateful” when they heard the good news.

“I am more than relieved. The nightmare is now finally over for Cleo and her family, ”Western Australian Prime Minister Mark McGowan said on social media.

© 2021 The Canadian Press


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