Premier slams 'horrible' act against Cleo Smith's family: 'Just stop'

·3-min read

Two weeks into the search for missing Cleo Smith, online trolls are continuing to target the four-year-old's family with vile abuse, drawing condemnation from Western Australia's premier and police.

Cleo was last seen in her family's tent at the Quobba blowholes campsite, about 70km north of Carnarvon in Western Australia, and police believe the four-year-old was kidnapped from her tent.

While police have no suspects and have ruled out Cleo's mother Ellie Smith, stepfather Jake Gliddon and her biological father, some people have attacked the family online.

WA Premier Mark McGowan was asked about what he thought of the trolls at a press conference on Sunday afternoon, saying Cleo's family is going through "angst and pain and suffering" and they simply "don't need this".

Pictured on the left is Premier Mark McGowan and four-year-old Cleo Smith on the right.
WA Premier Mark McGowan condemned people abusing Cleo Smith's family. Source: Nine News/WA Police

"I just don't get it why some people get all this courage when they get a keyboard," the premier said.

"I just urge them to stop, this social media world where people just devolve and say shocking and horrible things is awful. 

"I just urge people to go back to a sense of decency and civility toward one another, particularly people who are suffering."

Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde, who is heading up the taskforce looking for Cleo, said her family was assisting police and they were not suspects, The West Australian reported.

Cleo's family Carnarvon home has been searched multiple times, with police assuring the public this is just to ensure a thorough investigation.

"That is standard practice in any investigation, we must do a thorough investigation," Western Australia's Acting Police Commissioner Col Blanch previously told 6PR.

Pictured is Cleo Smith's mother Ellie, holding up a photo of the toddler, and stepfather Jake Gliddon.
Cleo Smith's family are not suspects in her disappearance. Source AAP

Detectives aren't giving Cleo Smith's family 'false hope'

Speaking to The West Australian, a friend of Ms Smith and Mr Gliddon, who was at the campsite soon after Cleo was found to be missing, said investigators were exercising caution when speaking with the family.

“Police aren’t going to give you false hope and that’s what we said from day one,” the friend said.

The friend added there was "nothing worse" than police saying they would find Cleo, or that they think they know who took her, when in reality they have nothing.

Instead, police are being realistic about finding Cleo.

Cleo Smith is pictured left and right with her mum.
Four-year-old Cleo Smith has been missing since October 16. Source: TikTok/elliesmith2223

The friend also touched on the abuse being hurled at Cleo's family, saying her parents are "traumatised and broken", adding the worst part of it all is that some of the people saying vile things online have kids themselves.

Ms Smith once again begged for her daughter to be returned, urging people to come forward with any information, or to report anyone who has been acting suspicious.

"Every day is getting harder without my shining bright light," Ms Smith wrote on Instagram.

"Today she’s missed Halloween with her family – her cousins, aunties, uncles, nannas and pop but most of all her parents and baby sister.

"She needs us and we need her. She is loved, she is happy, she loves dressing up whether it be a princess or a doctor. I just want her to come home."

Police door-knock in search for Cleo Smith

The investigation into Cleo's disappearance began at 7.10am on October 16 less than an hour after Ms Smith called Triple-0 for help.

Since then police have searched the campsite and spoken to those who were there, combed through Cleo's home and issued desperate pleas for information from the public.

Police are now visiting homes outside of Carnarvon in North Plantations as part of the search for Cleo, Nine News reported.

However, there has been no explanation as to why they are door knocking in the area.

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