Family friends opened up about the first hours of the chaotic search for Cleo Smith. They also shared their early hopes that the four year old was simply playing hide-and-seek.

Cleo vanished from Blowholes Campground near Carnarvon, Western Australia in the early hours of October 16. Close friends were among those who joined the search party. 

One friend stated that they launched a drone in search of inhospitable terrain, while others jumped onto quad bikes.

The search party was overwhelmed by shock at Cleo’s sudden disappearance. However, they also had hope that Cleo would return.

One friend said that they were still hopeful that she would come out of hiding.

“It’s up to us to hope that she shows her face and that she comes home in the end. You can’t lose sight of the goal if you don’t want to lose heart. 

Close friends were among the first to join a search party just hours after news had broken that Cleo had vanished from the Blowholes campground near Carnarvon, Western Australia, in the early morning of October 16

Cleo vanished from Blowholes campground near Carnarvon in Western Australia on October 16, 2016. Close friends joined the search party shortly after the news broke.

One friend said they launched a drone to search the surrounding inhospitable terrain while others jumped on quad bikes

One friend shared that they used a drone for aerial reconnaissance of the inhospitable terrain surrounding them, while others used quad bikes to do the same.

Cleo had been sleeping in a family tent with her mother Ellie (left), 18-month-old sister Isla and stepdad Jake Gliddon (right) when she disappeared with her sleeping bag

Cleo was sleeping in a tent with her mother Ellie (left), her 18-month-old sister Isla, and stepdad Jake Gliddon when she vanished with her sleeping bag

Cleo was sleeping in a tent with her mother Ellie and her 18-month-old sister Isla when she vanished with her sleeping bag.

A family friend described Ellie, a distraught and shaken woman, trying to comfort Isla.

Cleo’s uncle was also part of the search party that arrived at the campground at the same time as the family friend. 

They claimed that their uncle had frantically passed them while they were driving on the road, in order to reach the campground.

They replied, “So he took me over when we got on to the bitumen,”

‘I don’t think anyone gave a f*** if they got caught by police. There are bigger fish to fry that announcing a fine to everyone who’s trying to find Cleo. 

A family friend shared that hope of finding the little girls was slowly fading before it was replaced with a more sinister fear. 

Police now believe Cleo was abducted from her tent family that she was sleeping in the night she vanished. 

A friend said they had suspicions because it was unlikely that a four-year old girl could walk alone through the rugged terrain.

They also reacted to trolls, who pointed fingers at the family for the sudden disappearance. Police have ruled out the stepfather and mother as suspects.

“How many times has the media and police said that the parents weren’t suspects?” They said that they had been repeated numerous times but that people still don’t believe them. 

“Ellie and Jake would do almost anything for anyone,” Jake said. They love their children as much as their parents. 

Police say they arrived on the scene within an hour of Cleo Smith’s mother awakening to find her four-year old daughter missing.

Friday morning local time (2pm AEST), Detective Inspector Rob Wilde revealed Ellie called 000 at 6.23am. Despite initial reports she searched the campground several hours before police arrived.

He said that police arrived at 7.10am to set up a protected area and were there by 7.26am. 

Initial statements by Inspector Jon Munday that the public police arrived at the scene ‘around mid-morning’ were incorrect. This was later proven to be false on Friday.

At 11:01 am, homicide detectives were dispatched to the area. Police were already searching for cars in and around the campsite. 

Cleo's mother Ellie Smith (pictured) urged the public to contact police if they have any information

Ellie Smith, Cleo’s mother (pictured), asked the public to contact police any time they have any information 

Police were unable to check inside many of the shacks immediately because most were bolted shut with padlocks

 Police were unable to check inside many of the shacks immediately because most were bolted shut with padlocks

Mr Wilde stated, “Those police did an extremely good and thorough job.”

Many of the shacks were not accessible by police immediately, as they were all bolted shut with padlocks.

Mr Wilde also explained why detectives failed to search the Carnarvon home of the family before searching the house. He cited the need for priority in a case like Cleo’s.

He stated that Blowholes was our priority and that the tent was our priority. “We knew, from what Ellie had told us, that she was missing from the campsite,” he said. The home was not considered a priority.   

It was revealed that the 100-strong taskforce had responded 200 times to Cleo’s possible sightings in the two weeks following her disappearance.

Mr Wilde stated, “Unfortunately all of them have failed to produce results.”

“That’s also been national, other policing authorities have helped us and followed these leads through for us, so that’s something we’re very thankful for.

They are still trying to locate Cleo’s sleeping bag. 

Although none of the leads are accurate, he still calls on the public for Cleo to continue his search and report any useful information.

Pre-schooler Cleo Smith (pictured) is still missing after vanishing from a camping ground in remote Western Australia almost two weeks ago

Cleo Smith, pre-schooler (pictured), is still missing nearly two weeks after disappearing from a camping site in remote Western Australia.

Little Cleo Smith's mother is holding out hope that the four-year-old will 'come home' to her

Little Cleo Smith’s mother hopes that her four-year-old daughter will return home to her

Initial police believed that Cleo had simply wandered off to the remote campsite. However, they now believe she was abducted in the middle of the night by a child predator. 

Investigators searched the area by sea, air, and land but found no trace of the missing child. Police admit that they do not have any concrete suspects. 

Superintendent Wilde said that police have interviewed more than 100 campers who stayed on the Blowholes site.

“We believe that there were other campers who were staying in the Blowholes vicinity, but we haven’t yet identified them,” he stated. 

After Daily Mail Australia reported that a man in his 40s tried to lure his daughter to his car in 2014, detectives have “fully reviewed past incidents” at the site.

The girl’s distraught mother filed a police complaint at the time. She warned the man that he would ask her daughter to take a ride in his car, but she refused. She ran back to her family.

The attempted abduction of 2014 saw the little girl not be able to give a detailed description of the man’s appearance. It appears that nothing ever came out of the police report.

She shared the post to warn other parents that their children might be in the area. 

Wilde stated that all complaints have been investigated and that no similar complaints have been reported in recent years.

Police are still trying to locate a car that witnesses claim was in the area at the time Cleo disappeared. 

The vehicle was heading towards Carnarvon when it turned south off Blowholes Road.

The timing of the car sighting coincides well with evidence from other campers, who reported hearing screeching tires rapidly leaving the campsite at 3:00am.

Pictured: A map showing the possible roads Cleo Smith travelled in the time between when she went missing and police arrived

Pictured: A map of the possible roads CleoSmith could have taken in the period between her disappearance and the arrival of the police

The witnesses were driving north on North West Coastal Highway to get to work when they spotted a mysterious car leaving the camping grounds.

They couldn’t give a description of it or how many people were inside because it was too dark.  

Prime Minister Scott Morrison revealed Friday that the Australian Federal Police use sophisticated technology to track down Cleo.

Without going into detail, he stated that there are options worldwide for officers to bring Cleo back.

According to Australian National University astrophysicist Brad Tucker, Mr Morrison could be referring to satellite data that might’ve captured key moments from the campground on the night Cleo disappeared.

‘The high resolution ones, you’re a bit more limited, so they’re not going to be overhead at every single point – every half a day, sure, but not every hour or minute,’ he told WAToday.

“If they think that there was something at the campsite on Cleo’s disappearance, such a car, they may be trying satellite imagery to find a timeline.

“There is a good chance they got something, it may not be the highest resolution, but it could still have been something.”

Timeline of events from the day Cleo’s family realizes she’s missing 

At 6am, Ellie Smith wakes up to discover that Cleo is missing from her sleeping bag and that Cleo is not there.

6.23am — Ellie calls 000 to report her eldest daughter missing as she continues to search the camp ground.

6.30am — The first two officers are dispatched from Carnarvon police station. They will travel to Blowholes in order of priority, with sirens or lights.

6.41am — A second police car with another two officers is sent to Blowholes, also with lights and sirens.

7.10am — The first police car arrives. The second arrives in just minutes. 

7.26am — Police on the scene establish a protected forensic area which is taped off to the public, surrounding the family tent where Cleo was last seen. 

7.33am — A drone operator is called upon to search from the skies.

7.44am — A third police car is dispatched to the Blowholes.

8am — Family and friends of Cleo’s parents begin to arrive to help with the ground search. 

Another group of detectives searches Cleo’s house briefly to make sure she isn’t there. They then travel to Blowholes and stop cars entering and leaving the area.  

8.09am — A helicopter from a local company arrived at the scene and started searching  as police requests that an SES team attends the Blowholes search. 

8.24am: Volunteer marine searchers and police helicopters are called in for assistance.  

8.34am — Roadblocks are set up at the entrance of Blowholes as detectives gather the names, registration details and addresses of people coming and going. Police search cars. 

9.25am — Nine SES personel arrive at the Blowholes to assist with the search.

9.30am — Detectives sit down with a distressed Ellie and remain by her side for the rest of the day while other search crews hunt for Cleo. 

11am — Homicide detectives from the Major Crime Division are called and begin travelling from Perth to assist with the search.

1pm — More homicide detectives and search experts are flown in from Perth. 

3pm — Officers and search experts arrive in Carnarvon to offer their expertise.