Western Australia Police have said they do not anticipate the state’s landmark $1 million reward for information about Cleo Smith to be paid out.
Just six days after the four-year-old was allegedly abducted from her family tent at the remote Blowholes campsite on October 16, WA Premier Mark McGowan offered the hefty reward for information leading to Cleo's location, or to the arrest and conviction of people involved in her disappearance.
While police have remained tight-lipped about what prompted them to search the locked Carnarvon home where Cleo was found in the early hours of Tuesday morning, they did credit the hard work of a 140-strong police task force.
WA Police Minister Paul Papalia told ABC on Thursday morning “it wasn’t a random tip, or clairvoyant or any of those sort of things you might hear”.
“It was just a hard police grind,” he said.
WA Police Deputy Commissioner Col Blanch previously said he doesn’t expect the $1 million reward to be claimed, but he told Channel Seven’s Sunrise on Thursday he’s not completely ruling out the possibility.
“Look the police collected so much information from day one for those 18 days that they were able to trawl through and put that jigsaw puzzle together,” Comm Blanch said.
“Now part of that jigsaw puzzle was information from the community but it all contributed to the outcome yesterday morning.
“Look we’re not going to discount that it’s not going to be paid out, but certainly the information that I have from the police is that really it was good, hard, detective and analyst work.”
Criteria for paying police rewards
Associate Professor of Criminology and forensic anthropologist, Dr Xanthé Mallet from the University of Newcastle, told Yahoo News Australia on Thursday there are specific rules around rewards regarding what they will be paid out for.
For example, missing William Tyrell’s $1 million reward only relates to information about his location.
Cleo’s reward was offered for location information, or details that could lead to an arrest and conviction.
“Each reward has its own structure for what it will be paid out for,” she said.
“If there was a genuine call on this reward I’m sure they’d be very happy to pay it,” she added.
Speaking with ABC earlier in the day, Dr Mallet said the Carnarvon community and the whole of Australia just really “wanted to see Cleo found alive and unharmed”.
“…at the end of the day Cleo is home, and for most people the reward is seeing her in her parents’ arms in the hospital safe and unharmed.”
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.