After Cleo Smith, four years old, disappeared from a campsite 18 days earlier, her biological father broke his silence.

Daniel Staines, who lives about 1000km south of his daughter’s Carnarvon home in in Western Australia, said on Wednesday he is ‘overjoyed’ the little girl was found alive.  

The Staines family released a statement to The West Australian newspaper, saying that they were all overjoyed by the good news and that Cleo had been reunited with her dad and mom.

“Thank you to everyone who helped find her and bring home her, especially the WA Police and SES, and the Carnarvon Community.

Cleo, her mom Ellie Smith and Jake Gliddon received their ‘best wishes from Mr Staines’ from his family. 

Cleo's biological father Daniel Staines (pictured right) and his family are 'overjoyed' that the youngster was found alive

Cleo’s biological father Daniel Staines (pictured below) and his family are ‘overjoyed’ that the youngster has been found alive.

Cleo Smith thought the photo of her used in 'missing' posters was 'beautiful', her mum Ellie said

Cleo Smith thought the photo she used in the’missing’ posters was beautiful, her mum Ellie said

The toddler was miraculously found in a rundown house, just 3km from her Carnarvon home and 75km from Blowholes campsite on the north coast of Western Australia.

A local Facebook group suggested that people in the small community remove any’missing” stickers and posters to prevent further trauma to the family.

Cleo’s mother, however, commented on the post to let everyone know that it was not necessary.

‘Cleo saw her photo. Ellie wrote that she thought it was beautiful. 

It comes just hours after the mother of two broke her silence with an insincere Instagram post.

She wrote, “Our family is complete again.”

A close friend of Ellie’s shared the heartfelt message she sent to her family to let them know that she was a beautiful girl and is now home. 

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 her mother Ellie (pictured together).

Ellie Smith posted a screenshot to her Instagram stories early on Wednesday morning (pictured)

Ellie Smith uploaded a screenshot to her Instagram Stories early Wednesday morning (pictured).

She wrote that she was awakened at 4.50am by my phone going crazy at 4.50am to see the words Cleo is safe and home.

It is a miracle to see Ellie utter the words, “beautiful little girl is home”, We are so happy that she is home.  

Other family members and friends shared the happy news via social media.

Cleo’s grandmother Kathy Smith praised her for bringing her beautiful granddaughter home.

Another claimed that she was literally “literally balling her eyes out.” Cleo is now home. 

A family member shared the following Facebook message: “We have THE BEST police force in the World,” “Thank you all so much.”

A fourth relative shared the following: “The best news this morning, thank God!”

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

The heartwarming news brought tears to the eyes of Commissioner Dawson, according to reports. He said that the youngster (pictured), was as good and healthy as one could hope for.

Col Blanch, WA Police deputy commissioner, confirmed that Cleo is alive and well and was reunited with her parents. 

One of the officers took her into his arms and asked her “what’s your name?” He asked her what her name was.

‘She said, “My name’s Cleo.”

Chris Dawson, the Police Commissioner, confirmed that he had seen the footage of her rescue and that the little girl smiled and did as well as he could in the circumstances.

He said, ‘I saw the vision. Cleo is beautiful, a four-year-old girl.’ “She’s alive, well, smiling, so it’s a wonderful, wonderful outcome.”

He also said that Cleo’s stepfather, mother, and stepfather were both feeling emotionally but are’strong individuals’.  

“They have good support around.

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

Cleo has been reunited with her relieved parents, 18 days after she disappeared from her family's tent

Cleo has been reunited 18 days after she fled from her family’s tent.

The home where Cleo was found is just a seven minute drive away from Cleo Smith's parents home in Carnarvon

Cleo Smith lives just seven minutes from Cleo Smith’s parents Carnarvon house. 

Police broke into a locked room in the property at around 1am Wednesday, just seven minutes drive from Cleo’s parents’ house. 

Detectives are currently questioning a man aged 36 who is currently being held in custody. Commissioner Dawson stated that the man had no connection to Cleo and her family. 

The house has been cordoned off with tape and a neighbour told Nine’s Today Show: ‘S**t, she’s been that close.’

A second neighbor claimed to have seen the arrested man purchasing nappies at Woolworths.

Sunrise was told that they saw him in Woolworths buying nappies the other day. However, we didn’t know who he was or for what purpose he was buying them. ‘Until now.’ 

They described the man who lived in their house as quiet and didn’t expect him be involved. 

Cleo's mum Ellie Smith (pictured during her daughter's disappearance) has been regular  public appeals for her daughter to be found

Cleo’s mum Ellie Smith (pictured during her daughter’s disappearance) has been regular  public appeals for her daughter to be found

Cleo Smith (pictured) was kept prisoner in a rundown home near where her family lives

Cleo Smith (pictured), was held in a rundown house near her family’s home.

Ellie’s Instagram was filled with thousands of happy Australians who shared their joy by posting pictures of their tears of joy.

“I cried as soon as I turned on the TV and saw this news. So happy she is safe! One woman wrote.

“I think a lot if people are crying out for you this morning. I can’t even imagine what you must be feeling. I am so happy for you,’ another shared.

Another commentator said: “Mums all across Australia are crying of relief for your family.”

One woman who was following the story from the UK stated that she had been following it from her home and was so happy for all of you. What an incredible job the police did. Have a great reunion. You never gave up on hope. Recover your health and happiness.

Blanch, Deputy Commissioner, stated that this was the outcome we all hoped for and prayed for.

“It’s the result we’ve achieved thanks to some incredible police work.

“I want Cleo’s parents and the Western Australian community to thank me for being a volunteer.

“And ofcourse, I want to say thank you to my colleagues in Western Australia Police Force.”  

Prime Minister Scott Morrison tweeted this from Glasgow: ‘What wonderful and relieving news.

‘Cleo Smith is safe and sound and has been located.

“Our prayers were answered.

“Thank you to the many officers who assisted in finding Cleo and supporting her family.

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

Cleo was found 75km away from the place she disappeared on October 16th in Carnarvon, Western Australia.

Cleo Smith was found alive and well 18 days after she disappeared from a tent.

Chris Dawson, the Police Commissioner, stated that it was one his most memorable cases in his 45 year career.

He said, “Oh, Look, to find a small girl, a vulnerable little boy after 18 days. You know, obviously people think and believe the worst. But, the most important thing is that hope was never lost and that she was found alive.”

He said, “I think Australia is rejoicing. You know, it’s such a wonderful outcome.” 

Police interviewed more 110 people who were at Blowholes campsite on the evening Cleo arrived with her family at 10:16 on October 16.

The little girl was last seen at her family’s tent on WA’s northwest coast at 1.30am. It was five hours later that her mother and stepfather realized she was missing.

Rod Wilde, Detective Superintendent, stated that the family had stayed close to their tent all night and not interacted with other campers.

He said that he believed it was more than likely an opportunistic event on Perth radio 6PR Tuesday, hours before Cleo was discovered.

“We know that they got there on Friday night, it was getting darker, and there would have only been limited opportunity for people watching Cleo at that moment.”  

Cleo Smith (pictured) has miraculously been found alive after vanishing from a remote campsite in Western Australia

After disappearing from a remote campsite in Western Australia, Cleo Smith (pictured), miraculously was found alive

Police have collected more rubbish from roadside containers than 50 metres in length from Minilya up to Geraldton.

It was then transported to Perth where forensic officers, recruits, and other personnel sorted through hundreds more bags in search for items that might help them find Cleo.

Cleo was offered $1 million by the state government for information leading to her location. 

Cleo’s home in Carnarvon was visited by detectives who sought CCTV footage from various businesses and took samples from the Blowholes campfire.


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.

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

6.41am: Blowholes receives a second police vehicle with two officers and lights.

7.10am: The police car arrives. The second one arrives in just minutes. 

7.26am: 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

8 a.m.: Cleo’s family and friends begin to arrive to assist 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 airwing are called in to assist in the search.  

8.34am: Police set up roadblocks at Blowholes to collect names, addresses, and registration details of all those who are coming and going. Police search cars. 

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

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. 

11:15am: Major Crime Division Homicide Detectives are called and start travelling from Perth to assist in the search.

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

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