Cleo Smith was saved by a police officer who spoke out about his incredible moment. He called it the “best moment” of his career. 

The missing four-year-old was found at 12.45am on Wednesday alone in a bedroom in a locked and run-down house in the Carnarvon suburb of Brockman in Western Australia.

The police broke down the door and found the little girl alive. Detective Sergeant Cameron Blaine was one of four officers who saved the child. He asked her three times for her name. 

He said that he wanted to be certain that it looked like Cleo.

“What’s your name?” I replied. I asked her three times, but she didn’t answer. Then, she looked at me and said, “My name is Cleo.” That was it.

“Then we turned around, and walked out of our house. Shortly after, we got in the car. The officer I was with called Cleo’s parents and said that “we have someone here who wants to speak to us”.

It was a wonderful feeling to make that phone call. They were thrilled. 

Cleo cried “mummy” as she returned to her mother’s arms after having not seen her family for 18 days. 

Blaine described Blaine’s little girl as an “energiser bunny” and confirmed that she was not physically injured when she was found.

When asked if it was the most memorable moment of his career, he replied: “Without a doubt”. 

“We all wanted to hold her.” 

WA Police have released the first photo of Cleo after she was found at a home in Carnarvon on Wednesday morning, having been missing for 18 days

Cleo has been found in a Carnarvon house on Wednesday morning. She had been missing for 18-days. 

Detective Sergeant Cameron Blaine who was one of four police officers to rescue Cleo has opened up about the heartwarming moment they found her

Cleo’s rescue by Detective Sergeant Cameron Blaine was one of four heroic moments that the officers shared with her.

Cleo, age four, was deemed safe and well, but she was immediately taken to hospital to undergo further tests and to be reunited to her relieved parents, Ellie, and Jake.

Cleo was abducted from her parents’ tent at Blowholes campsite in 74km on October 16th by a 36-year-old male. He was not present when the raid took place.

Police were concerned that the girl might have been taken away from the country, but she was actually found under their noses just 3km from her home. 

Detectives are still investigating whether Cleo was in the house during her disappearance.

Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde stated they are currently not looking for other suspects and said that the abduction appeared to have been ‘opportunistic. 

Police shared an earlier photo of Cleo, a beaming little girl, lying in a hospital bed and eating an iceblock after she was rescued.

When Mr Wilde was asked which officers shed tears after hearing that the four year-old boy had been found, he replied that they all did.

‘Most definitely. It was an amazing moment, especially after hearing that everyone was on such a high. It was incredible.

Cleo likely had already been locked up in her home when her mother Ellie Smith, and stepfather Jake Gliddon woke at 6am to find her not next to them or her baby sister Isla in Blowholes’ tent.

Tonkin Crescent residents where she was held confessed to not being able to connect the dots or report key clues that could have led them to her home.

Neighbours of the home where little Cleo Smith (pictured) was kept prisoner before she was rescued by police on Wednesday have revealed the tell-tale signs they missed.

Cleo Smith’s home was visited by her neighbors, who revealed the signs they missed.

These clues were missing from the police’s arsenal of tools. Police worked with very few leads until Tuesday night when they received a tip-off containing’really critical information about a vehicle’. 

Detectives confirmed it using phone data and “a lot of forensic lead” – and raided the house just hours later.

Sahntayah McKenzie remembered hearing a little girl cry one night. She didn’t think much of it at the moment.

“Not last night, but the night before it…” “I heard a little girl crying, but I wouldn’t expect it was Cleo,” she told the West Australian.

“I didn’t think it would happen in this small neighbourhood, a lot people know each other.” 

It is reported that police were called to the address by neighbours who saw the suspect buying nappies.

One of them stated to Seven News that she became suspicious after seeing the suspect purchase Kimbies nappies at a supermarket. 

She said, “The other day, I believe it was Monday, we saw he in Woolworths buying nappies, but we didn’t get to know who it was or for what purpose he was buying them.” ‘Until now.’

Nine was informed by a neighbour that he saw the arrested man walking through the streets, honking and dragging his dogs in the front seat.

Sahntayah McKenzie recalled how she heard a little girl crying one night, but did not think anything of it at the time

Sahntayah McKenzie recalls hearing a little girl crying in her bedroom one night. But she didn’t think anything of it.

Cleo Smith alive after 18 days

  • Police take custody of a 36 year-old man without any family connection
  • Neighbors said that the quiet man was seen buying nappies from Woolworths.
  • Cleo was found alone in the house after police broke down the front door at 1am
  • Police responded to a tip that led them to the home of the housing commission. 
  • Cleo’s home is just seven minutes drive away. 
  • Cleo smiled when she was saved, confirmed the police commissioner 
  • After being reunited with her family, she is now in hospital to undergo an assessment

Henry Dodd said that he’s been acting strangely lately. ‘He will get into his car and drive that fast. 

“He doesn’t have his dogs at home.” [normally]He has his dogs in the back but he has had strange behavior. 

Mr. Dodd stated that police spent many hours driving up and down the street to get to the house before entering it.

Neighbors described the man as quiet and said they wouldn’t expect him to get involved.

He said, “Everyone who knows the person that lives in that house wouldn’t believe that it would be him.”

“We got a shock that it was him,”

Another neighbour told the Today show: ‘S**t, she’s been that close.’

Another local described the man being held in custody as an “oddball”.

‘He is a very quiet guy, bit of an oddball… definitely wouldn’t have picked him… it has completely derailed me,’ Rennee Turner said.

‘I’d heard whispers… I kind of figured the police might have had an idea of what was going on, because I have never seen such a massive amount of cops here for so long.’ 

Others claimed he purchased food that he did not normally buy in recent weeks and that his dog, who usually stayed in the backyard, was moved to the front yarn.

In the early hours of the morning, police smashed through the locked door of a home (pictured) in the Brockman suburb of Carnarvon, Western Australia, to rescue the four year old

Police broke through the locked door of a home in Brockman, Western Australia (pictured), to rescue the four-year old.

One neighbour Henry (pictured)  said he had spotted the arrested man behaving unusually in recent days, hooning through the streets in his car with his dogs in the front seat

One neighbour Henry (pictured)  said he had spotted the arrested man behaving unusually in recent days, hooning through the streets in his car with his dogs in the front seat

Neighbors who witnessed the dramatic raid by police described how Cleo was taken to safety.

‘We stood back and waited but after that, we saw someone, on the detective shoulder. We thought it might be the little boy, which it was,” Mr Dodd explained to Seven News.

“I went closer to the detective’s car and saw her in the back with the detective. He was holding her. They placed her in the back, and I ran over to see her. She looked at my face, a little scared. 

Mr. Dodd stated that he was shocked to have been only metres from her during the nationwide hunt for her.

He added, “I just can’t imagine it and get over that she is just the home down from me and locked up here for two weeks,”

“Going on three more weeks, she is directly across from us. There are little sisters …’.  

Cleo was found alone in this suburban home in Carnarvon, in the north-west of Western Australia, shortly before 1am on Wednesday morning

Cleo was found alone in her suburban home in Carnarvon (in the north-west part of Western Australia) just before 1am on Wednesday morning

Col Blanch, Deputy WA Police Commissioner, said Tuesday night’s tip was what allowed detectives finally to track down Cleo.

He stated that he had collected all the data he needed, including phone data, witness statements and DNA.

“The million-dollar reward allowed us to collect even more from the public. Everyone was willing to help us.

“There were car movements, phone movements, antecedents of persons, and the puzzle fit the jigsaw.

“We had to find that needle. They acted in a split second last night when the needle was found in the haystack.  

Chris Dawson, police commissioner, stated that Cleo smiled at being rescued from the house. He was moved by the moment captured on the bodycam footage.

‘I’ve seen it. It’s etched in my brain for all of my life. It’s impossible to look at that without feeling it in your heart. He said, “Unbelievable moment.”

“I saw detectives that had worked for 18 straight days, 24/7 see Cleo in the room, and just their faces. The care that was shown immediately, the cuddling and asking of her name, her little voice.

Cleo was found in her hometown of Carnarvon in Western Australia, 75km from where she went missing on October 16

Cleo was located 75km from her home in Carnarvon, Western Australia, where she was last seen.

Cleo is now back in the arms of her mum Ellie and stepfather Jake (pictured together)

Cleo is now in the arms her stepfather Jake and mum Ellie (pictured together).

Cleo was taken by her mother Ms Smith to the hospital. She wrote hours later on Instagram: ‘Our family has been made whole again.

A close family friend shared the message Ms Smith had sent to her loved ones earlier to let them understand that she is a beautiful girl.

She wrote that she was awakened at 4.50am by my phone going insane and saw the words Cleo was home safe and sound, and posted it on Facebook.

 She’s alive, well, smiling, so it is a wonderful, wonderful result

‘Seeing Ellie saying her ‘beautiful girl is home’ is nothing short of a miracle.’ 

In a local Facebook group, a concerned local suggested people in the small town remove ‘missing’ posters and stickers to prevent the family from suffering any more trauma.

But the youngster’s mother Ellie Smith commented on the post to let people know it was unnecessary.

‘Cleo has seen her photo. She thought it was beautiful,’ Ms Smith wrote.

Cleo’s biological father Daniel Staines, who lives with his parents about 1,000km south of Carnarvon in Halls Head, said he is ‘overjoyed’ that the little girl was found alive.

‘We are all absolutely overjoyed at the good news this morning and so happy that Cleo has been reunited with her mum and dad,’ the Staines family said in a statement to The West Australian.

‘Thank you to everyone who helped look for her and bring her home, particularly the WA Police, SES and the Carnarvon community.’

 They sent Cleo, her step-father Jake Gliddon and Ellie their ‘best wishes’. 

Commissioner Dawson reportedly broke down in tears upon learning the heartwarming news. He said the youngster (pictured) was good as can be expected

Commissioner Dawson reportedly broke down in tears upon learning the heartwarming news. He said the youngster (pictured) was good as can be expected

Cleo's mum Ellie Smith broke her silence on Wednesday morning, sharing a series of love heart emojis on Instagram after her daughter was found alive and well

Cleo’s mum Ellie Smith broke her silence on Wednesday morning, sharing a series of love heart emojis on Instagram after her daughter was found alive and well

Police Air Wing PC12 picked up the suspect, who has no relation to Cleo’s family, from Carnarvon and landed at Perth’s Jandakot Airport late on Wednesday morning. 

Commissioner Dawson was on board the plane and will spend the day meeting with police involved in the rescue and checking in with Cleo’s family.

The police chief broke down in tears upon learning the heartwarming news. He said Cleo was as good as can be expected.

‘I saw the vision, Cleo is a beautiful little four-year-old girl,’ he said.

‘She’s as well as we could expect in the circumstances.She is well, smiling, and she’s still alive. It’s a wonderful, wonderful result..’

He said Cleo’s parents are emotional, but doing well.

They are strong people. They have good support around,’ Commissioner Dawson stated. 

“It’s an amazing result today, but it will be a tough road for them.


 By Olivia Day for Daily Mail Australia

Friday, October 15

Cleo arrives at Blowholes campsite with her mother Ellie Smith, Jake Gliddon, and Isla Mae.

They arrived at sunset after a quiet night.

Saturday, October 16

1:30am: Cleo’s last sighting with her parents in the tent she shared, with her baby sister and parents, when Cleo asked for water.

6.23am: Ellie calls 000 and reports her eldest daughter missing while she continues to search the camp grounds.

6.30am: The Carnarvon station police station dispatches the first two officers. They will travel to Blowholes in order of priority, with sirens or lights.

6.41 AM: Blowholes is sent a second police car, with two additional officers, equipped with lights and sirens.

7.10am: The police car arrives. The second arrives in a few minutes.

7.26 AM: Police arrive on the scene and create a protected forensic area that is taped to the public around the tent where Cleo was last spotted.

7.33am: A drone operator will be called to search the skies.

7.44 AM: A third police vehicle is dispatched to Blowholes

8am: Cleo’s family and friends begin to arrive to assist with the ground search.

Another team of detectives searches Cleo’s house briefly to make sure she isn’t there.

They then travel to Blowholes, where they stop cars entering and leaving the area.

8.09 am: A helicopter from a nearby company arrived on the scene to search. Blowholes police requested an SES team to attend the search.

8.24 AM: Volunteer marine searchers, police air-wing, and the police helicopter are called in for assistance.

8.34am: Blowholes’ entrance is blocked off by roadblocks. Detectives collect the names, addresses and registration details of anyone who comes and goes. Police search cars.

9.25 am: Nine SES personnel arrive in Blowholes to assist in the search.

Investigators, bounty hunters and officers from the Australian Federal Police have spent two-and-a-half weeks searching for missing four-year-old Cleo (pictured)

Cleo, a missing four-year old girl, was the target of bounty hunters and investigators from the Australian Federal Police.

9.30am: Ellie is distressed and detectives are there to help her.

11am: Major Crime Division homicide detectives are called to assist with the search. They travel from Perth to assist.

1pm: Perth is home to more homicide detectives, search experts, and other investigators.

3pm: Carnarvon officers, search experts arrive to lend their expertise.

Sunday, October 17,

Ms Smith turns to social media for help in finding her missing child.

A Facebook post dated Sunday, January 45th, stated that it had been more than 24 hours and I have not seen the sparkle in my little girl’s eyes since then.

“Please help me find her!”

“If you see or hear anything, please call the police!”

Police believe that Cleo might have been abducted.

Monday, October 18, 2008

Police release an image showing the red and gray sleeping bag that was missing from Cleo’s tent.

Cleo’s biological dad is interviewed by police at Mandurah. He is asked to give a statement which he freely gives.

The WA Police, assisted by SES members, volunteers, and aircraft, continue the hunt for Cleo. Officers search nearby shacks, vehicles, and other locations.

Tuesday, October 19

Cleo’s mother Ellie Smith and Jake Gliddon are fronting the media for the first-time and describe the terrifying moment that they realized their little girl was missing.

Ms Smith said that her four year old daughter would never have left the tent all by herself.

Police release new images of Cleo as well as the pink and blue one piece she was wearing on the night she vanished to assist in the investigation.

Investigators are urging anyone who was in the area or at the campsite on October 15th to contact police. 

Wednesday, October 20

Police revealed that Cleo couldn’t reach the zip of her family tent because it was too high.

Officers claim they haven’t ruled it out that campers heard the sound of tyres squealing in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Daryl Gaunt, Deputy Police Commissioner, confirmed that officers are investigating the whereabouts 20 registered sex offenders from the Carnarvon region.

Thursday, October 21

Cleo’s location will be revealed by WA Premier Mark McGowan.

McGowan stated that all Western Australians are in Cleo’s thoughts during this difficult time.

“We are all praying for a positive result.”

The speed at which the reward was distributed – within days after her disappearance – was remarkable.

Pictured: Police are seen examining rubbish left near the Blowholes campsite in remote WA

Pictured: Police examine rubbish left near the Blowholes campsite. 

Monday, October 25,

WA Police confirm Cleo was at camp site – CCTV footage from a camera mounted inside a beach house just 20 meters from the family tent from which she disappeared. 

Tuesday, October 26

On Tuesday, detectives and forensic officers spent a lot of time at her Carnarvon home, 900km north from Perth. They left with two bags of evidence.

Although investigators have been to the house before, this was their first thorough inspection inside with a team of forensics experts.

Col Blanch, Acting WA Police Commissioner, stated that the search of the family home was a’standard practice’ which did not indicate that they were suspects in Cleo’s disappearance.

Wednesday, October 27

WA Police forensics officers return from Blowholes campground to collect soil samples from several campfires close to shacks in this area.

The Australian Federal Police officers were drafted by the federal government to assist in intelligence and forensic investigations.

Friday, October 29, 2009

Police return to Blowholes camp in order to analyze the area using drones.

As the search for Cleo approaches the two-week mark of its second week, Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde returns from Blowholes to rejoin the search.

He confirmed that Cleo is being sought by both international and national agencies.

Sunday, October 31

Cleo’s hometown was 5km away on Sunday when detectives went door-to-door.

Monday, November 1,

Detectives search through rubbish heaps at roadside bins hundreds of kilometres from the site where she vanished.

The material was then transported to Perth where forensic officers, recruits and other personnel sorted through hundreds upon hundreds of bags looking for items that might have helped them find Cleo.

Officers appeal for CCTV and dash cam footage within 1000km of the area where the missing four-year-old disappeared.

Police renew their appeal to Carnarvon businesses to provide footage and to go door-to-door in an industrial area near the town.

Her elated mother, Ellie, (pictured, with Cleo, her partner and younger daughter) broke her silence the morning Cleo was found, sharing a series of love heart emojis on Instagram

Ellie, her mother and younger daughter, was pictured with Cleo. They shared a series on Instagram of love heart emoticons. 

Wednesday, November 3

After two-and-a half weeks of searching, Cleo Smith was found alive and well in the early hours November 3.

Col Blanch, WA Police Deputy Commissioner, confirmed that Cleo was alive and well just before 7am AEST and had been reunited to her parents.

“One of the officers took her into his arms and asked her her name. He replied. “She said: “My name’s Cleo.”

Ellie Smith posted on social media: “Our family is whole again.”

Detectives are currently questioning a Carnarvon man.

On October 19, Ellie Smith (pictured) and her partner Jake Gliddon fronted the media for the first time and begged the public to report any information 'big or small'

Ellie Smith (pictured), with Jake Gliddon, fronted the media on October 19th and asked the public for any information ‘big nor small’ to be reported.