Cleo Smith was found in a suburban home just seven minutes away from her family’s home by detectives after a tip-off from members of the public and forensic clues.
Police found the four year old girl just before 1am on Wednesday morning after breaking into her Carnarvon home. This was 18 days after she had disappeared from the Blowholes campsite, 73km away.
Col Blanch, Western Australia’s Deputy Police Commissioner, said that the operation to locate Cleo required a task force consisting of 100 officers and ‘thousands’ of pieces of evidence.
Cleo discovered the clue late Tuesday night, and was taken into custody.
Police are keeping the exact details of what led to officers being called to the house under wraps.
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Cleo Smith is pictured left with her mother Ellie. The four-year old was found by police just before midnight on Wednesday, after they broke into a Carnarvon home.
‘[Officers]Sunrise heard that he had collected thousands upon thousands of pieces intelligence, data, evidence, witness statements and more,’ he said to Sunrise on Wednesday morning.
“That has been a hard, difficult slog.”
Chris Dawson, WA Police Commissioner said that a tip-off led officers directly to the Carnarvon home. He also stated that there were a lot of forensic leads in the same direction.
He said that there was some information that he had followed up on.
“We had been following a lot forensic leads and it led me to a particular house.
‘We mounted our general duty police, who did an amazing job within minutes of arriving. [at the house]It was declared a crime scene and sealed off. This was just really, really great policing.
Later in the day, WA Premier Mark McGowan stated that police had analysed ‘thousands of calls’ and trawled social media as part their investigation.
Police officers inspect rubbish left near the Blowholes campsite, remote WA
Pictured: Cleo was found by the forensic officers as they searched through trash in search of her.
He said that they put their heart, soul, and soul into it. They used their instincts and left no stone unturned.
“This is great news, and it’s uplifting for the whole country.”
Mr Blanch stated that phone data was a key factor in the discovery of the young girl.
“Everything contributed. He stated that phone data had helped him.
“It will be apparent that when the puzzle is put together, it all leads to one place.”
Investigators spent two-and-a half weeks looking for missing four-year old Cleo (pictured).
Mr Blanch said that he witnessed seasoned detectives break down and weep with relief’ when police asked the child about her. The toddler replied: “My name is Cleo.”
Cleo is located just seven minutes from her family’s home on the property that was found.
Cleo had been reunited earlier Wednesday morning with her parents after the top police officer confirmed her condition.
Cleo’s mother Ellie Smith broke her silence after the rescue operation by posting a series love heart emojis to Instagram. She said, “Our family is complete again.”
The WA Police confirmed that the man who was arrested at the property had no connection to her or her families.
A Carnarvon man was taken into police custody. The house was cordoned off with tape and located just seven minutes from Cleo’s family home (pictured, where Cleo was discovered).
Cleo was found 46 miles from the place she disappeared on October 16th in Carnarvon, Western Australia.
Scott Morrison is an Australian Prime Minister and is visiting Glasgow for the COP26 Climate Summit. He stated that it was’relieving news” that Cleo was well.
He tweeted: ‘What wonderful, relieving news. Cleo Smith is safe and sound at home after she was found. Our prayers have been answered.
“Thank you to the many officers who assisted in finding Cleo and supporting her family.
Anthony Albanese, the Opposition Leader, also posted a message via social media and thanked officers for their search.
After missing 18 days, Cleo was reunited with her parents.
Cleo’s mum Ellie Smith (pictured during her daughter’s disappearance) has made regular public appeals for her daughter to be found
“Such good news. Cleo Smith is alive and well. He thanked all those who searched tirelessly for this little girl and wished to thank them.
Tanya Plibersek, an Australian MP, also joined the tributes. She wrote: ‘Cleo Smith safely back in her parents arms. Wonderful news.
‘What this family went through is every parent’s worst nightmare. Thank you to the WA Police and all those who participated in the search. Cleo, welcome home.
Australian radio host Ben Fordham broke down on air to inform listeners that Cleo was found.
Cleo was discovered by her neighbors in the same street as her. They were shocked to learn that she could have been hiding at the home for up 18 days.
Scott Morrison, who is in the UK to attend a climate conference, has joined the outpouring relief that Cleo has been found alive after 18-days
Anthony Albanese, the Opposition Leader, also posted a message via social media and thanked officers for their efforts.
Tanya Plibersek (Australian MP) also participated in the tributes to the four-year-old missing.
Australia’s Seven News was informed by a neighbour that they were suspicious of the man who had been arrested for buying nappies at a supermarket.
“The other day, like, Monday, we saw him in Woolworths purchasing nappies, but we didn’t get to know who it was or for whom he was buying them,” she said. ‘Until now.’
Another neighbour told the Today show: ‘S***, she’s been that close.’
A group of Nine News heard from men who witnessed the rescue operation: “One of the boys shouted, “Oh they’ve got this little girl there, it might have been Cleo.” I ran towards the detective’s window, and I saw Cleo at the back. Yes, that’s her!
Neighbors described the man who lived in the house as quiet and said that they wouldn’t expect him involved.