This is the moment Cleo Smith, four years old, was rescued from a house in Western Australia by a stranger. She had been missing for more than two weeks from a remote campsite she was staying with her family. 

Cleo, nicknamed “Australia’s Madeleine McCann”, was found by detectives in Carnarvon at 1am Wednesday. It is a rural town located an hour from the campsite, where she vanished on October 16, and just seven minutes away from her family home.

In the footage, police can be seen carrying the tired-eyed girl into the garden of the house before Cameron Blaine – a detective who had been leading the investigation – asks whether she is OK. Cleo smiles and nods as he informs her that he will take her to see her mummy and daddy.

Later, Cleo was seen smiling and waving from a hospital room while enjoying an ice lolly. Police said that they had arrested a 36 year-old man. After being beaten by inmates, the man was taken to hospital with a bandage on his head.

The miracle rescue brings an end to an 18-day investigation that began when Cleo’s mother Ellie Smith reported her missing from Blowholes campsite in the early hours of October 16, having been snatched in her sleeping bag while Ellie slept just a few feet away.

Police have yet to explain how or why Cleo was abducted or how she got to a house a few minutes from where her distraught parents were trying to find her.

Investigators have not yet revealed what led them to Cleo’s house. They said that a variety of ‘forensic” clues pointed to it. They also stated that a report from a car was critical to their success in tracking down the girl. 

Incredible bodycam footage shows the moment Cleo Smith was rescued by Western Australian Police (pictured)

Amazing bodycam footage captures the moment Cleo Smith was saved by Western Australian Police (pictured).

Pictured: Detective Sergeant Cameron Blaine tells Cleo: 'We're gonna take you to see your mummy and daddy'

Pictured: Cleo hears Detective Sergeant Cameron Blaine say to Cleo, “We’re going to take you see your mummy & daddy.” 

Detective Blaine has been tirelessly investigating the case ever since Cleo vanished. He described his admiration after she was found in a raid late at night following a tip-off.

It was shocking to begin with. There was a rapid surge of excitement, then followed by another. It could have been any of the guys, but I was one of four who were able get through that door and rescue me,’ he stated.

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

“I wanted to make sure it was her.” I asked her, “What’s your name?” I asked her three times, but she didn’t respond. Then, she looked at me and said, “My name’s Cleo.” 

“And that was it. Then we turned and walked out of our house. We got in the car, and the officer called Cleo’s family. It was an amazing feeling to make that call.   

The pre-schooler was immediately taken to the hospital for a welfare check. 

Propped up on a hospital bed as she sucked on an icypole, Cleo Smith smiled from ear to ear in her first photo since she was rescued 18 days after being abducted on a camping trip.

The four-year-old girl smiled excitedly at Ellie Smith, her mother. She gently touched her right heel as she sat on the side.

Cleo was ‘opportunistically abducted’ on October 16 and was found alive at 12.46am on Wednesday when police stormed a public housing home in the Carnarvon suburb of Brockman in Western Australia after a sudden tip off.

“What’s the name of your child?” Officers asked the little girl as they found her in a bedroom alone and took her into their arms. She replied, “My name’s Cleo.”

Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde, who led the missing person investigation, said Cleo ‘is physically OK’ and had since been released from hospital to be with her mother and stepfather Jake Gliddon. 

Terry Kelly, a 36-year-old man who was not in the home when it was raided, not known to Cleo’s family, and not a registered sex offender was arrested in connection with Cleo’s abduction from the family’s tent at Blowholes campsite.

After the other prisoner had learned the reason he was being held, he was allegedly beaten by another inmate at the Carnarvon prison cells.

Police were concerned that the girl might have been taken away to another country, but she ended up being right under their noses at 3km from her home and 75km away from the campsite. 

The first picture of Cleo Smith, safe and sound in hospital, after she was rescued from a house in Carnarvon, in northwest Western Australia, where she was held for 18 days

Cleo Smith in hospital after being rescued from Carnarvon, northwest Western Australia. This was her first picture.

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.

Cleo was probably already in her house when her parents woke up at 6am to discover that she wasn’t there with them and her baby sister Isla in the tent.

Daily Mail Australia hears from shocked neighbours that they were first alerted by police flood lights to their cul de sac, which is usually bustling with children playing in their yards and at the park across their road during daylight hours. 

“My nephews went up to check out what was happening and then they saw cops leading the little white girl out,” a neighbor who has known Kelly for over a decade said.

Others were shocked to hear that Cleo was safe and sound.    

A neighbour claimed that he was a loner and kept to himself. He was not someone anyone in the street would ‘have an ear with’ even though he was a long-term resident. 

Kelly was last seen just three days following the disappearance of Cleo. Kelly, according to his former friends, was released shortly after the disappearance of Cleo.  

He said that his grandmother raised him, but that after she died a few years ago, no one came over to knit to him.

‘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.’

He was reportedly beaten by another inmate when he arrived at the Carnarvon holding cells in the middle of the night after the other prisoner learned what he'd been arrested for

He was reportedly beat by another prisoner when he arrived at Carnarvon holding cells during the middle of the night, after the other prisoner discovered what he’d been charged with.

Superintendent Wilde described the moment that four police officers, including himself, burst into Cleo’s home and saved her. 

“[I was]It was shocking to begin with. Then came the elation. They could have been any member of the team, but it turned out that I was one of four men who was able to get through that door and rescue him.

“We had always hoped for this outcome, but we weren’t prepared for it to be so amazing. It was amazing to see her sitting there as she did.

“I asked her her her name. One of the men jumped in front me and picked me up. I wanted to make sure it looked like Cleo.

“I wanted it to be her.” I asked, “What’s 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.” That was it.

Superintendent Wilde stated that Cleo’s next task was to call her parents. He and another officer did this from their car. He said, “You can imagine, absolute shock and they were ecstatic.”

Cleo’s reunion with her mother was just the same heartwarming moment, as she shouted “mummy!” 

Superintendent Wilde stated that there were many kisses, hugs, and tears. This included hardened officers.

“People were in tears. It is true. It is an amazing end result. We hoped, we continued to work with that belief that we could get there, that you could find Cleo. He said that although he didn’t know the exact cause, he was certain that they were blessed with good fortune.

Superintendent Wilde stated that Cleo was in good spirits, communicating well with officers and was happy to talk to them. However, there were more interviews to be conducted in the next few days.

‘She is a little Energiser bunny after I have seen her a few more times this morning. He asked how she had so much energy.

‘Very sweet, energetic girl. She is very trusting and open with us. We wanted to hold her. It was a great experience. 

Police received a tip-off Tuesday night that contained’really crucial information about a vehicle’. They confirmed it with phone data and ‘a lot forensic leads’ and raided the house just hours later. 

Detectives confirmed the tip using phone data and ‘a lot forensic leads’ and raided their house hours later. 

There were other signs as well, like the sound of a little boy crying and the suspect kidnapper pacing the streets buying nappies to give to a child he didn’t own.

However, Tonkin Crescent neighbors admit that they didn’t join in the dots until Cleo was rescued. They also failed to report suspicious behavior to police that could have led to Cleo days earlier. 

Sahntayah McKenzie recalls hearing a little girl cry one night. However, she didn’t think much of it at the moment.

“Not last night, but the night before it… She told the West Australian that she heard a little girl cry, but that it wasn’t Cleo.

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

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

Nine was told by a neighbor that he saw the man acting strangely in recent days. He was honking through the streets with his dogs and sitting in his car’s 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 is alive and well after 18 days

  • 36-year old man, with no family connection, is currently in police custody
  • Neighbors said that the ‘quiet man” was seen buying nappies from Woolworths.
  • Cleo was alone in the house when the police broke down its door at 1am
  • Police responded to a tip that led them to the home of the housing commission. 
  • Cleo’s family home is only seven minutes away from the home. 
  • Cleo smiled when she was saved, confirmed the police commissioner 
  • After being reunited to her family, she is now at the hospital for an evaluation

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 front [normally]He keeps his dogs at the back. However, this week he kept his dogs at the front. He’s been acting weird.

Henry Dodd claimed that police drove for hours up and down the street before entering the home.

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

He said, “Everyone who knows the person who stays in that house wouldn’t think 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 him 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 said that he had bought food that he didn’t usually buy in recent weeks and that he also moved his dog, who usually stayed in the backyard, to the front yard.

Neighbors who witnessed Cleo being taken to safety by officers after the dramatic police raid described the actions of Cleo.

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

‘We stood back and waited but after that, we saw someone, on the detective shoulder. Henry Dodd said that they believed it might be the little girl.

“I went closer to detective’s car, and I saw her in her back seat with the detective. He was holding him. They put her in the back. I ran over and saw her there. She looked at me, a little scared. 

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

He said, “I can’t believe it” and that he couldn’t get over the fact she was just a few houses down from us.

“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, the Deputy WA Police Commissioner, stated Tuesday night that the tip was the last piece of the puzzle that allowed detectives and Cleo to finally track her down.

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 more from the public. Everyone offered their help.

“There were car movements, there was phone movement, there were antecedents, people, the puzzle fit the pieces.

“We had no choice but to find that needle. They acted in a split second last night when the needle was found in the haystack. 

The crucial tip-off was the final piece of a puzzle in a case that had been frustrating and evaded detectives. It made it seem impossible for Australians to believe that Cleo would ever be found alive.

Police stated that Cleo smiled at her rescuers when she arrived at her house. This moment was captured on police bodycam footage, which brought a tearful look to his face.

“I’ve seen it.” It’s etched in my brain for all of my life. You can’t 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 immediate care, the cuddling, asking her name, and 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 in Western Australia.

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

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

Daily Mail Australia understands that a local officer called Cleo’s mom to share the amazing news. She is currently in hospital for evaluation.

Ms Smith wrote hours later on Instagram: ‘Our family has been restored to its original state.’

A close friend of Ms Smith’s revealed the heartfelt message she had written to her family to let them know that she was a beautiful girl and is now home.

“To be woken up at 4.50am with my smartphone going crazy and to see the words Cleo home alive and secure,” she wrote 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

What happened to Cleo in the house where she was held captive for more than two weeks, without her family, but psychologists said she would have a long road to recovery.

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. 

Police Commissioner Chris 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 that Cleo’s parents were emotionally involved, but doing well.

“They are strong people, they’re really strong people. They have good support,’ said Commissioner Dawson. 

“It’s a great result today, but it’ll be a difficult journey for them.”


 By Olivia Day for Daily Mail Australia

Friday, October 15,

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

They arrived at sunset after a quiet night.

Saturday, October 16

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

6.23am Ellie calls 000 to report her eldest child missing. She continues to search for the camp ground.

6.30am: Two officers are dispatched to Carnarvon police station. They travel to Blowholes with sirens, lights, and as a matter-of-priority.

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

7.10 a.m.: The first officer arrives. The second arrives in a few minutes.

7.26am: Police establish a protected area for forensic analysis on the spot. This area is taped off to public and surrounds the family tent where Cleo was last observed.

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

7.44 AM: A third officer car is dispatched for the Blowholes

8:15am: Cleo’s family and friends begin to arrive to assist with the ground search.

Another group of detectives quickly searched Cleo’s home to ensure she wasn’t there.

They then move on to Blowholes where they stop cars from entering and leaving the region.

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

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

8.34 am: 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 at Blowholes to help with 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 in distress is greeted by detectives who stay with her for the rest of their day, while Cleo is hunted by other search teams.

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

1pm: More Perth homicide detectives and search specialists are flown in.

3pm: Carnarvon officers, search experts arrive to lend 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 us 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 of the missing red and grey sleeping bag from Cleo’s tent.

Cleo’s biological father, Mandurah police, is interviewed and asked for a statement.

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 claims that her four-year old would not have left the tent on her own.

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 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 screeching tyres in early Saturday morning.

Daryl Gaunt (Deputy Police Commissioner) confirmed that officers are looking into the whereabouts and activities of 20 registered sex offenders within the Carnarvon vicinity.

Thursday, October 21

Cleo’s location was announced by WA Premier Mark McGowan. The WA Government offers a $1million reward.

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 inspect rubbish left near the Blowholes campsite, remote WA 

Monday, October 25

WA Police confirm that Cleo was at the camp site. This is based on CCTV footage taken from a camera placed inside a beach shack 20 metres from the tent where she disappeared. 

Tuesday, October 26

Detectives and forensic officers spent Tuesday at her Carnarvon house, 900km north-east of Perth. On Tuesday, they left with two bags full 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 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.

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

Sunday, 31 October

Cleo’s hometown is 5km away when detectives knock on doors of a number homes along the North West Coastal Highway.

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 1000 km 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

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 just before 7am AEST Cleo is alive. She had been reunited her relieved parents.

“One of the officers took her into his arms and asked her her name. He said. “She said, “My name is 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 her partner Jake Gliddon appeared before the media on October 19. They asked the public to report any information, ‘big and small’, they received.