The search for missing girl Cleo Smith has turned to garbage bins with police combing through rubbish for any sign of the four-year-old.
Cleo has been missing for more than two weeks after it was believed she was taken from her tent while camping with her family in the Quobba blowholes campsite, about 70km north of Carnarvon in Western Australia on October 16.
On Monday, WA Police searched through more than 50 cubic metres of rubbish “from roadside bins as far north as Minilya to as far south as Geraldton”.
“The rubbish was packed into two trucks and transported to Perth, where four forensics officers and 20 recruits spent two days sorting through hundreds of bags in an effort find any items that may assist in the investigation,” police said.
But none have led to them finding her.
Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde told reporters on Thursday “unfortunately, all of those obviously have proved unfruitful”.
To date, it remains a mystery what happened to Cleo. Police have probed her home using forensics to determine if there were any signs of a struggle leading up to her believed abduction.
Associate Professor Xanthe Mallett, from Newcastle University, told Yahoo News Australia Cleo’s fate could depend on her captor.
"Generally speaking, in cases of familial abduction such as a custody dispute, which this does not look like, it is common for a child to be returned unharmed," Dr Mallett said.
"However, if a predator took her, as sadly seems most likely, then the chances of her being found unharmed are significantly diminished."
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.