Cleo Smith was found two miles from her family’s home by Australian police. Investigators were able to track her down using forensic clues and a tip-off.

The four-year old, nicknamed Australia’s Madeleine McCann vanished from a campsite in October 16th. She was found by relieved detectives alone in the bedroom of a Canarvon home at 1am last night.

The house was only two minutes away from the police headquarters, and about 45 miles from the Blowholes campsite where she was living with her family when she vanished.

Police claimed that Cleo discovered a clue called ‘needle-in-the-haystack’ late Tuesday night. A 36-year-old man, who has not been identified and charged, was taken into custody.

Although the force has not yet disclosed the details of Cleo’s discovery they stated that phone data and a car in the vicinity played a key role. 

Officers are also keeping mum about the suspect, his whereabouts, and the circumstances under which Cleo was found.

Australian police tracked down missing Cleo Smith thanks to a tip-off and forensic clues after finding her just two miles from her family home

After finding Cleo Smith just two miles from her family’s home, Australian police were able to track her down using forensic clues and a tip-off.

Mother Ellie reported Cleo Smith missing from Blowholes Campsite, west coast Australia, at 6.23am on October 16. She said that she woke up to find her daughter gone. Police found Cleo Smith in her bedroom at a Carnarvon locked home 18 days later. It was 47 miles from the campsite, and two miles from her parents.

A 36-year-old man has been arrested in connection with Cleo's disappearance. He has not yet been named, but was pictured being taken to hospital with a bandaged head after apparently being beaten by other inmates in police custody

Cleo’s disappearance is being investigated by a 36-year old man. He was not identified but was seen being taken to hospital after being beaten by police officers. 

Cleo vanished from her tent while her mother Ellie Smith and her stepfather Jake Gliddon were sleeping nearby. Cleo had also lost her sleeping bag and tent zipper.

Western Australia Deputy Police Commissioner Col Blanch said the mammoth search involved a task force of 100 officers and ‘thousands of pieces of evidence’.

Police quickly switched to the theory that she had been abducted. Helicopters, drones as well as dogs and officers were deployed in rural areas and along the coastline.

Officers had spoken previously of trying to trace a car that was last seen leaving Blowholes campsite in the early hours of the morning on the day Cleo disappeared. 

Before they could find the Carnarvon home, officers searched hours of CCTV footage and combed satellite images. 

Later, the man who was arrested by police in the early hours of the morning was pictured being taken to hospital wearing a bandage around their head after being beaten by inmates when he was taken into custody.

Cleo was pictured smiling and waving for the camera from a hospital bed while eating an ice lolly as mother Ellie Smith's hand rested on her leg (bottom right) in the first image of her since she went missing on October 16

Cleo was seen smiling and waving at the camera from her hospital bed, while she ate an ice lolly while mother Ellie Smith rested her hand on her leg (bottom left). This is her first image since her disappearance on October 16. 

Cleo was found inside the bedroom of this locked property in the north of the town of Carnarvon at 1am Wednesday after a 'tip off' to police. Officers said the arrested man was not at home when the raid took place

After a tip-off to police, Cleo was discovered in the bedroom of this locked house in the north of Carnarvon at 11:01 on Wednesday. Officers claimed that the man who was arrested was not home at the time of the raid. 

Cleo Smith pictured left with her mother Ellie. The four-year-old was found just before 1am on Wednesday after police smashed their way into a locked Carnarvon home

Cleo Smith (pictured left) with her mother Ellie. Police broke into a Carnarvon house to find the four-year-old girl. They found her just before 1am Wednesday morning.

Neighbors described him as a ‘loner’ who was behaving strangely in recent days. One recalls seeing him buy nappies in a nearby grocery store despite not having children.

Detectives claim that the man was not in the house at the time Cleo was found but was taken into custody at a’short distance’. 

Cleo’s relatives are not aware of him. He is also not a registered sex offender. Detective Ron Wilde stated that he was ‘known to police’ for other problems, but did not elaborate. He stated, “I have to be very cautious about that.”

“[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. 

Investigators spent nearly two-and a half weeks searching for missing four year-old Cleo (pictured).

Pictured: Forensic officers in full protective gear including gas masks as they searched through rubbish in an attempt to find Cleo

Pictured: Cleo was found by the forensic officers as they searched through trash in search of her.

“Everything contributed. We were able to use phone data. 

“It will be apparent that when the puzzle is put together, it all leads to one place.”

Chris Dawson, police commissioner, said that a tip-off led officers into the Carnarvon home and that “a lot of forensic leads” pointed in the direction.

He stated that he had some information that he wanted to verify.

“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 forensic scene and sealed off. This was really, really good policing.

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

Police officers were seen inspecting rubbish left near the Blowholes campsite.

Wilde stated that he believed Cleo’s disappearance was an opportunistic’ kidnapping, even though he had only been aware of Cleo for short periods. Police have yet to confirm that any of this information was accurate.

Officers were the ones who conducted the raid in the early hours. Tuesday night they received a tip off with’really vital information about a car’. They confirmed this with phone data as well as ‘a lot more forensic leads’.

Blanch said Tuesday night’s tip was the final piece in the puzzle that allowed detectives and prosecutors to finally track down Cleo.

He said, “We’ve collected phone information, witness statements DNA, fingerprints, rubbish along highways, CCTV – everything.”

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

“There were car movements, and there were phone movements. The jigsaw was complete. We had to find the needle. The needle in the haystack was found last night and they acted in a matter of seconds. 

Interviews with neighbors after the raid revealed that they also saw other signs that a child was being held at the property. However, they only realized the connection to Cleo in hindsight. 

Sahntayah McKenzie was able to recall hearing a little girl cry in the night. She didn’t think anything of it.

“Not last night, not the night before it… “I heard a little girl crying, but I didn’t expect it would be Cleo,” she told the West Australian. “I didn’t expect it to happen in this small neighborhood, a lot people know each others. 

Police were reported to have been tipped off by neighbors who saw the suspect buying nappies at the address.

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

She stated that he saw her in Woolworths on Monday buying nappies. However, she didn’t know who he was or for whom he was buying them. ‘Until now.’

Cleo had been sleeping in a tent alongside mother Ellie at a campsite the family often visited on the Western Australia coast when she vanished along with her sleeping bag some time in the early hours of October 16

Cleo had been sleeping in her tent at the campsite Ellie and the family frequented on the Western Australia Coast. Cleo disappeared with her sleeping bag in the early hours. 

Police said Cleo (pictured with mum Ellie and stepfather Jake) shouted 'mummy!' while being reunited with her parents, and that all three of them shared hugs and kisses

Police stated that Cleo (pictured with stepfather Jake and mum Ellie) shouted “mummy!” While being reunited by her parents, she shared hugs and kisses with all three of them. 

Nine was told by a neighbor that he saw the man driving fast through the streets, with his dogs in his front seat, and behaving strangely.

Henry Dodd said that he’s been acting strangely lately. He will drive so fast that he can get in his car. 

“He doesn’t have his dogs at front [normally]He keeps his dogs at the back. However, this week he kept his dogs at the front. He’s been acting strangely.

Henry Dodd stated that police spent many hours driving up and down the street to break into the house before they arrived.

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

Moments after her discovery, bodycam footage shows police carrying the tired-eyed girl into the garden of the house before a detective asks whether she is OK. 

Cleo smiles and nods as he tells Cleo: “We’re going take you to your mummy & daddy, OK?”

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

This is the moment that four-year-old Cleo Smith was found alive by detectives inside a locked house in the town of Canarvon, Western Australia, 18 days after going missing while on a family camping trip

Cleo Smith, a four-year-old girl, was found alive and well in a locked room in Canarvon. This happened 18 days after she disappeared on a family camping holiday.

She is now at home and recuperating in the company her parents – She was pictured smiling from her hospital bed while eating an Ice lolly and waving at the camera as her mother holds her hand on her leg. 

After being examined by doctors, Wilde stated that Cleo was ‘physically okay’.  

Mother Ellie took to social media to express her relief. She posted a picture of her daughter and captioned it with: “Our family is complete again.” 

Blaine recalled that Cleo was found alive and well. He said, “It was a shock to begin with, followed quickly by excitement. It could have been any member of the team, but Blaine said that he was one of four men who were able to get through that door and rescue Cleo.

“We had always hoped that this would happen, but were not prepared for the outcome. It was amazing to see her sit there in that way. It was amazing.

“I wanted it to be her.” I asked, “What is your name?” I said, “What is your name?” She didn’t answer. I asked three more times and she finally said, “My name is Cleo.”

“And that was it. Then, we turned around and walked outside the house. We got in the car, and the officer called Cleo’s family. It was a wonderful feeling making that call.

Police used battering rams and crowbars to break their way into the Carnarvon house, located on the outskirts of town in a suburb called Brockman, with neighbours telling Daily Mail Australia they were first alerted to the commotion when flood lights lit up their cul-de-sac in the middle of Tuesday night. 

“My nephews went up and saw what was going on, and then they saw cops leading the little white girl out,” a neighbor stated. 

He said that he had known the owner for over a decade and described him as “A loner” who “kept to himself” and wasn’t the type to talk to people who lived on the streets.

Three days after Cleo disappeared, he last saw the man. “His grandmother raised the man… but after she passed away a year ago, no one came over to take her place. [speak]”To him,” the man said.

‘He got a new car after… he used to park it in the driveway and then close the gate, every day, always went and put the car in the same spot and closed the gate.’

Friends said that the man was not yet released from jail but didn’t say what he was behind bars. The police stated that the man was only ‘known’ to them, and not a registered sexual offender.


 By Olivia Day for Daily Mail Australia

Friday, October 15

Cleo, her mother Ellie Smith and Jake Gliddon, her partner, arrive at Blowholes campsite at 6:30pm.

They had a quiet night and arrived at sunset.

Saturday, October 16

1:30am: Cleo, four years old, asks for water after her parents last sighting.

6.23 AM: Ellie calls 000 and reports her eldest daughter missing. She continues to search the camp grounds.

6.30 am: The Carnarvon station police station dispatches the first two officers. They travel to Blowholes with sirens, lights, and as a matter-of-priority.

6.41am: Blowholes receives a second police vehicle with two officers, along 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.

7.33 AM: A drone operator is needed to search the skies.

7.44 AM: A third police vehicle is dispatched to Blowholes

8:15am: 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 move on to Blowholes where they stop cars from entering and leaving the region.

8.09 am: A helicopter from a local business arrived on the scene and began searching. Police requested that an SES team assist the Blowholes search.

8.24 am: Volunteer marine searchers and police air-wing are called in to assist in the search.

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.

9.25am: 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, four-year-old Cleo disappeared. Australian Federal Police officers, bounty hunters, and investigators spent two-and-a half weeks looking for her (pictured).

9.30am: Ellie is in distress. Detectives stay with her for the rest of day, while Cleo is being hunted by other search teams.

11:15am: Major Crime Division homicide detectives are called to assist in the search. They travel from Perth to assist.

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

3pm: Carnarvon officers and search experts arrive to offer their expertise.

Sunday, October 17

Ms Smith uses social media to appeal for help in finding her missing daughter.

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 suspect that Cleo was abducted.

Monday, October 18

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.

With the assistance of SES members and volunteers, the WA Police continue their hunt for Cleo. Officers are still searching for Cleo’s shacks and vehicles.

Tuesday, October 19, 2009

Cleo’s mother Ellie Smith and Jake Gliddon are fronting the media for the first-time and describe the 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 aid in the investigation.

Investigators ask anyone who was present at the campsite or nearby 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 state that they have not ruled out reports from campers who heard screeching tires in the early hours 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 with which the reward was issued – within days of her disappearance — was unheard of.

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, said that the search of their family home was a’standard practice and did not indicate that they were suspects with Cleo’s disappearance.

Wednesday, October 27

WA Police forensics Officers return to Blowholes Campground and collect soil samples from a variety of campfires nearby shacks.

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 to examine the area with drones.

Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde returns from Blowholes campsite to assist in the search for Cleo, as the search has reached the two-week mark.

He confirmed that both national and international agencies are involved in the search for Cleo.

Sunday, 31 October

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

Monday, November 1,

Detectives dig through piles of rubbish found hundreds of kilometres from the campsite where she disappeared.

The material was taken to Perth, where forensic and police officers and recruits searched through hundreds of bags for any items that could have been used to 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, is pictured with Cleo, her younger daughter and partner. Ellie broke her silence when Cleo was discovered, and shared a series love heart emojis via Instagram 

Wednesday, November 3

Cleo Smith was found alive in the early hours on November 3 after two-and a-half weeks spent searching.

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 the following to social media: “Our Family is Whole Again”

A Carnarvon male is currently being held and being interrogated by detectives.

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 her partner Jake Gliddon appeared before the media on October 19. They asked the public to report any information, ‘big and small’, they received.