Cleo Smith found ALIVE inside a locked home

·5-min read

Missing four-year-old girl Cleo Smith has been found alive inside a locked home in Carnarvon.

Deputy Commissioner Col Blanch confirmed Cleo was rescued in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

“One of the officers picked her up into his arms and asked her what's your name? She said ‘My name is Cleo’,” Dept Comm Blanch said following the incredible rescue mission.

Cleo Smith was last seen on October 16, at the Blowholes campsite, north of Carnarvon. Source: AAP
Cleo Smith has been found alive. Source: AAP

Shortly after finding Cleo, the four-year-old was reunited with her family.

Police have a man from Carnarvon in custody and he has been answering questions from detectives, Acting Comm Blanch said.

Acting Comm Blanch later told the Nine Network investigators broke into the house at around 12.46am and located Cleo.

At the time of the rescue, Cleo was alone in the house.

Speaking to the ABC, WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said the man in custody is 36-years-old and had no connection to Cleo's family.

"We'll have more to say on the rescue of Cleo as the day unfolds," he said. 

"But for now, welcome home, Cleo."

On Wednesday morning, Cleo's mother, Ellie Smith shared a post to Instagram relating to the news of her daughter being found safe.

"Our family is whole again," Ms Smith wrote.

Nine News reporter Joshua Dawe told the Today Show the home where Cleo was found is just minutes away from her own home and the local police station.

Neighbours of the man in custody told Channel Seven's Sunrise they were shocked when they found out the four-year-old was found in the home.

One neighbour told 7News reporter Ben Downie they saw the 36-year-old man at Woolworths buying nappies the other day, but he didn't know who the man was buying them for.

Cleo Smith found alive after three weeks

Cleo disappeared on October 16 as she and her mum, stepfather, Jake Gliddon, and sister Isla, who live in Carnarvon, were camping at the Blowholes campsite about 70km away.

More than 100 people who were at the campsite at the time were interviewed by police during their extensive investigation.

There were more than 1000 calls to Crime Stoppers in relation to Cleo and police investigated some 200 potential sightings called in by the public.

Speaking to Perth radio 6PR on Tuesday, Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde said it was likely the four-year-old was taken by an "opportunistic" offender.

Cleo Smith was found in Carnarvon, about 70km away from the Blowholes campsite. Source: Yahoo News Australia
Cleo Smith was found in Carnarvon, about 70km away from the Blowholes campsite. Source: Yahoo News Australia

Cleo's mum has made several heart-wrenching posts since her daughter's disappearance, while vile abuse was directed at her and her partner Mr Gliddon, despite police reiterating they were not suspects.

Ms Smith last saw her daughter at 1.30am on October 16 when Cleo asked for some water.

The next morning at around 6am, Ms Smith woke up and saw Cleo was missing from the tent the family were sleeping in.

Early on in the investigation, police had reason to believe Cleo had been taken from her tent, opposed to her wandering off in the night.

The zipper on the tent Cleo's family were staying in was open at a height Cleo would not have been able to reach.

Pictured is four-year-old Cleo Smith and her mother Ellie Smith
Four-year-old Cleo Smith went missing on October 16. Source: TikTok/elliesmith2223

Family 'never gave up hope'

Comm Dawson said forensic leads led police to the house in Carnarvon where they found Cleo, though he said he it would be "difficult" for him to expand on that any more. 

He also said he had viewed the footage of the rescue and noted that Cleo was smiling and that Ms Smith and Mr Gliddon were very emotional.

"They never gave up hope," he told the ABC.

"They are really strong people. They have good support around them and we will continue to walk them through - this is is a wonderful result today but it will still be a tough journey for them."

Police chief 'cried' after hearing news

The case made headlines across Australia, with politicians like Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese recognising Cleo's return on social media.

The Prime Minister said it was "wonderful, relieving news".

On Wednesday, the NSW police commissioner recounted a call he had with WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson after Cleo was found.

"He said when he got the call this morning he broke down and cried," Mick Fuller told Sydney radio 2GB.

"It's such an amazing story."

Mr Fuller praised WA Police for their "good old fashioned police work", adding he had feared the chances of finding Cleo alive were slim.

WA Premier missed text message after Cleo was found

At a press conference on Wednesday, Premier Mark McGowan said he received a text message from the police commissioner, alerting him to Cleo's rescue at around 1.30am.

"I didn't answer it, I was asleep," Mr McGowan told reporters.

In a Facebook post, the premier said he was "beyond relieved" the nightmare for Cleo and her family was over.

At the press conference, the premier also acknowledged Cleo's family and the trauma they went through since October 16 and everyone involved in the search.

"This is great news and uplifting for the entire country," he said. 

"Especially for those people who put their heart and soul into finding little Cleo. I know they are proud and pleased of what has been achieved."

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