Police say girl recovered after they broke into a house about 1am and a man is in custody
The mother of Cleo Smith has declared her “family is whole again”, after her four-year-old daughter was found alive and well more than two weeks after she went missing from a campsite in remote Western Australia.
Western Australia police said they had found Cleo alone in a house in Carnarvon, about 900km north of Perth, at 1am on Wednesday. They arrested a man a short time later.
The WA police commissioner, Chris Dawson, told the ABC that police had a 36-year-old man in custody. He said there was “no family connection”.
“To find a little girl, a vulnerable little girl, after 18 days, you know, obviously people think the worst, but importantly, hope was never lost,” Dawson said. “The fact she’s been found alive … I think Australia is rejoicing, you know, it is such a wonderful outcome.”
The police deputy commissioner, Col Blanch, said police had broken into the locked house and found the girl in one of the rooms. It’s my privilege to announce that in the early hours of this morning, the Western Australia police force rescued Cleo Smith,” he said. “Cleo is alive and well. 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.
The NSW police commissioner, Mick Fuller, told 2GB his WA counterpart, Dawson, told him he had broken down and cried at the news. Fuller said he had thought the chances of finding Cleo alive were “so slim”. “West Australian police never gave up on Cleo: it was good old-fashioned police work that resulted in her being found alive,” Fuller said.
Blanch said the man in custody was being questioned by detectives. “We’ll have more to say on the rescue of Cleo as the day unfolds,” Blanch said. “For now – welcome home Cleo.”
Source: The Guardian