Police probing new 'screeching tyre' claim in search for Cleo Smith

·3-min read

The sound of screeching tyres in the hours after Cleo Smith disappeared is being investigated as a potential clue about what happened to the missing toddler.

Western Australia Police have confirmed they are looking into reports from other campers about a loud car and other odd noises on the night she disappeared from the Blowholes campsite, north of Carnavon.

“It’s a little bit unsubstantiated but we’re not ruling it out,” Deputy Police Commissioner Darryl Gaunt told 6PR. 

“We are getting information from around the world and interstate and there is a lot of information we are trawling through." 

Investigators are not ruling anything out in the disappearance of Cleo Smith. Source: WA Police
Investigators are not ruling anything out in the disappearance of Cleo Smith. Source: WA Police

Registered sex offenders questioned

Mr Gaunt also revealed there are almost 20 registered sex offenders living in the Carnarvon area that officers had followed up with. 

“Part of the investigative strategies have included reaching them and making inquiries into their whereabouts and movements and at this point in time we’re very comfortable where we sit with those inquiries,” he said.

Search enters fifth day

As the desperate search for Cleo entered its fifth day, police were still without a major suspect or breakthrough in the case.

"The circumstances around this were quite unique, the lack of information, the terrain, the weather conditions, the location, all of those things gave us, to be honest, far more questions that we could give answers to."

camp
The family were camping at the remote Blowholes campsite on the weekend when Cleo vanished with her sleeping bag. Source: WA Police

Mr Gaunt said the circumstances surrounding her disappearance didn't add up.

"It is every parent's worst nightmare, our hearts go out to the family in the circumstances, their hands are tied in what they can do and they must be amazingly worried."

Every police resource directed at case

But he stressed they are throwing everything they can at the investigation.

"The amount of effort going into this is second to none, we are not holding back any resources" he said. 

“It is better to over respond and then withdraw resources rather than do it the other way around." 

Investigators are keeping all options open as hopes of finding her alive begin to dwindle. 

“From the moment this incident was reported to us we launched parallel activities around a search and rescue operation, as well as an investigation phase,” he said.

“To say we’re treating this as an abduction is not correct, we’re treating it as a search-and-rescue mission, first and foremost, and that remains our mission is to find Cleo. 

Four-year-old Cleo Smith was last seen at 1.30am on Saturday. Source: Ellie Smith/Facebook
Four-year-old Cleo Smith was last seen at 1.30am on Saturday. Source: Ellie Smith/Facebook

In a grim admission, Mr Gaunt conceded: "the forecast going forward gets worse each day". 

Search resumed after wild weather 

An extensive land and air search was able to continue on Wednesday after wild weather delayed efforts.

Cleo vanished without a trace in the early hours of Saturday morning from her family’s tent.

Her parents woke at 6am to discover she was missing.

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