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Missing four-year-old Cleo Smith found ‘alive and well’ in Western Australia
Cleo, who went missing on 16 October, was found in a locked house not far away in Carnarvon, after the police smashed their way in.
The police have arrested a 36-year-old man from Carnarvon and are questioning him, and the authorities say they have so far not found any connection between the man and the Smith family.
Meanwhile, Cleo has been reunited with her parents. “Our family is whole again,” Ellie Smith, Cleo’s mother, wrote on Instagram as she shared the news.
The Australian prime minister Scott Morrison described the breakthrough as “a huge relief”.
“The fact that that nightmare has come to an end and our worst fears were not realised, is just a huge relief,” Mr Morrison said.
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What we know about Cleo Smith abduction suspect
The 36-year-old man arrested in the case of Cleo Smith was “known to police”, said homicide detective superintendent Rod Wilde on Wednesday. “He is known but I have to be very careful around that,” he revealed.
The police have said they suspect that the man taken into custody during the early hours of Wednesday was acting alone.
The investigators in the initial probe did not find any connection between the suspect and Cleo’s family, and believe it to be a case of “opportunistic” abduction. The police hope to lay charges against him today.
“There’s no other person that we suspect being involved,” said Mr Wilde. “It appears as though it was opportunistic.”
The suspect sustained head injuries in his holding cell and has been taken to the hospital by the police, reported 9 News.
Cleo Smith disappeared from a campsite in Western Australia on 16 October
Biological father issues statement
Daniel Staines, Cleo Smith’s biological father, was “overjoyed” at the news of the four-year-old being found alive.
In a statement to the West Australian, Mr Staines said: “We are all absolutely overjoyed at the good news this morning and so happy that Cleo has been reunited with her mum and dad.”
“Thank you to everyone who helped look for her and bring her home, particularly the WA Police, SES and the Carnarvon community,” the statement added.
Police shares first picture of Cleo Smith since being rescued
Police shared the first picture of Cleo Smith, who was rescued from a house in Carnarvon, almost two weeks after she went missing from a campsite in Australia. In the picture, Cleo is smiling and waving in a hospital bed.
“The miracle we all hoped for,” posted the Australian Police as they shared the picture on Facebook.
Scott Morrison expresses ‘relief’ after Cleo Smith found alive
Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison has reacted to the news that Cleo Smith has been found alive, speaking to reporters in the United Arab Emirates on his way home from the Cop26 summit in Glasgow.
Mr Morrison thanked the police for their work in finding the four-year-old.
“It’s every parent’s worst nightmare. The fact that that nightmare has come to an end and our worst fears were not realised is just a huge relief, a moment for great joy,” Mr Morrison told reporters.
“This particular case, obviously, has captured the hearts of Australians as we felt such terrible sorrow for the family,” he added.
‘Our family is whole again’, says Cleo Smith’s mother
“Our family is whole again” wrote Ellie Smith, the mother of missing four-year-old Cleo Smith, after she was found and reunited with her family by Australian police.
Ms Smith, who has not yet spoken to the media, wrote the post on Instagram after Cleo was discovered “alive and well”.
Cleo Smith reunited with her parents
Cleo Smith, who went missing from a campsite in remote Australia more than two weeks ago, has been found inside a locked house.
Sharing the news on Wednesday, Western Australian Deputy Commission Col Blanch, said: “It’s my privilege to announce that in the early hours of this morning, the Western Australia Police Force rescued Cleo Smith.
“Cleo is alive and well.
“A Police team broke their way into a locked house in Carnarvon about 1am. They found little Cleo in one of the rooms.
One of the officers picked her up into his arms and asked her ‘what’s your name?’
“She said – ‘My name is Cleo’.
“Cleo was reunited with her parents a short time later. This is the outcome we all hoped and prayed for. It’s the outcome we’ve achieved because of some incredible police work.”
Welcome to The Independent’s coverage of the news that Cleo Smith, a four-year-old girl who went missing from her family’s tent at a campsite in Australia 18 days ago, has been found alive and well.