Cleo Smith's parents recall details of night she was taken in desperate interview

·3-min read

The mum and stepdad of missing Cleo Smith have recalled the terrifying moment they realised the four-year-old had been taken in an emotional interview.

More than a week has passed since Cleo disappeared from her family's tent at the remote Blowholes campsite on WA's northwest coast.

Detectives believe Cleo was abducted in the early hours of October 16.

On Monday night, Cleo’s mum, Ellie Smith, detailed the last moments she saw her daughter to Channel Seven’s Flashpoint program.

She said she tucked Cleo into her sleeping bag, which is also missing, around 8pm.

Cleo's mum and stepdad are seen during the emotional interview. Source: Channel Seven/Flashpoint
On Monday night, Cleo’s mum Ellie Smith detailed the last moments she saw her daughter in an emotional interview. Source: Channel Seven/Flashpoint

“It was going to be quite a windy night, and it was overcast,” she said, adding that they were trying to make sure their daughter was “safe”.

Cleo woke up in the middle of the night to ask for a drink of water, but then returned to bed, Ellie said.

The mum woke up around 6am and panicked after she realised Cleo was no longer in the family’s tent.

“When the police were asking us to go through everything, I just remember thinking, ‘how did someone come into that tent and take Cleo?’” Ellie told Seven News.

The mum said she immediately felt sick.

A supplied image obtained on Monday, October 18, 2021, of 4-year-old Cleo Smith. Source: WA Police/AAP
Detectives believe Cleo was abducted in the early hours of October 16. Source: WA Police/AAP

“No one I know has ever been through it and I would never wish for anyone to go through it, to wake up and feel that feeling that went through me,” she said.

The parents, who said they haven't slept since Cleo disappeared, also made an emotional plea for anyone who may have the four-year-old to bring her home.

It has been confirmed the zipper on the family’s tent was found open to a height Cleo could not have reached, seemingly ruling out the possibility she wandered off on her own.

WA Police yet to hear from driver of car

People near the town of Carnarvon, where the Smith family live, are being encouraged to check sheds and abandoned cars for any trace of Cleo.

On Sunday, WA Police said they were hoping to talk to the driver of a car seen near the campsite where the four-year-old went missing.

Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde said a car was seen turning south off Blowholes Road between 3am and 3.30am that morning.

"We want the person or persons who were in that vehicle to come forward and contact police," Mr Wilde said.

Cleo's mum is seen crying during the interview. Source: Channel Seven/Flashpoint
Cleo's mum said she tucked her daughter into bed around 8pm. Source: Channel Seven/Flashpoint

"We want to know who they were and what they were doing."

Mr Wilde stressed the driver was not a suspect. Police are yet to hear from the driver.

Officers have seized CCTV footage from a home showing a car driving in the same area at the same time, 7 News revealed on Tuesday.

But it is unknown if it is the same vehicle and driver police previously appealed for by police.

The WA government has issued a $1 million reward for information leading to Cleo's location.

Premier Mark McGowan said some of the state's best detectives were working around the clock to find the missing girl.

"We just hope against hope that there's a good outcome here, that she's found alive somewhere," he told reporters.

"If anyone knows where she is, if anyone's taken her, please give her back to her parents."

The Carnarvon Church of Christ on Sunday held a vigil for Cleo and encouraged people to write in a book of messages to be given to the missing four-year-old's parents.

With AAP

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