Cleo Smith, the 4-year-old girl who went missing while on a camping trip with her family, has been found alive.
Cleo has been discovered eighteen days after she first went missing.
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Cleo went missing October 16th after arriving, with her family, at the popular Blowholes campsite on the north-west coast of Western Australia.
Arriving at about 6.30 PM, the family settled in at the campsite before having dinner, the Guardian reports.
Cleo then went to bed at around 8 PM.
Cleo had woken in the night about 1.30 AM on Saturday and asked for a drink of water…
As per the the outlet, Ellie explained: “I got her some water. She went to bed.”
That was sadly the last time her parents saw her.
The family then woke up around 6 AM the following morning where they discovered the tent zipper open and Cleo gone.
Her red and grey sleeping bag was also gone.
“It was about 30cm from open,” her mom said.
“We grew up here, we literally grew up 100 meters from where we stayed at the same age. So we just looked everywhere that we went as kids and we couldn’t find her. We realized we had to call the cops because she wasn’t here.”
By this point, Ellie and her partner, Jake Gliddon, decided to phone the emergency services.
They also alerted their fellow campers, who by the time the police had arrived, had sent up private drones to search from the sky.
Investigators in homicide and major crime forensics joined with police in their search amid abduction fears.
While helicopters and drones were also deployed to search the area.
Speaking with Perth radio station, 6PR, inspector Jon Munday said the search for Cleo was “a race against time.”
“We can’t rule out the fact that Cleo may be still in the area, we can’t rule out the fact she’s left the area and if she’s left the area that is probably is our worst-case scenario because that really paints a sinister picture with what’s happened,” he said at the time.
Cleo’s mom Ellie also spoke with 7News Perth where she admitted she felt “hopeless” about the situation.
“We haven’t really slept,” she said. “Everyone asks us what we need and all we need is our little girl home… The worst part is, we can’t do anything more. It’s out of our hands so we feel hopeless and out of control.”
She has also urged people to report it, if they seeing anything.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s small or big or if you’re sure or not… We want our little girl home. We sit and watch the sand dunes and we just think she’s going to run down it and back into our arms, but we’re still waiting.”
But finally, in a major turn of events, we’ve all recieved the news we have been waiting for…
Cleo has been found alive and well.
Cleo was discovered by police inside of a locked house just 3 KM from her home, the Daily Mail reports.
Police smashed their way into the home in Carnarvon in the early hours of Wednesday, after receiving a tip-off about a car, the outlet reports.
A thirty-six-year-old man is in custody.
Deputy Commissioner Col Blanch from WA police said in a statement that Cleo was found in one of the rooms.
“One of the officers picked her up into his arms and asked her, ‘What’s your name?’ She said ‘My name is Cleo.'”
“This is the outcome we all hoped and prayed for,” he said. “It’s the outcome we’ve achieved because of some incredible police work.”
Det Sgt Cameron Blaine, who was one of the 4 officers who raided the house and was the one to ask Cleo her name, described her as “very trusting and open.”
“She’s a little energizer bunny,” he said. “How she has that much energy. I wish I did. We all wanted to take turns holding her.”
He also described finding Cleo as one of the best moments in his career.
In bodycam footage released by police just moments after Cleo was discovered, she appeared to be well.
Cleo was taken to hospital for tests but has since been discharged and reunited with her parents.
As per the BBC, the man taken to custody has no connection to the Smith family.
He is yet to be charged though it is expected to happen later in the day.