After updating the country with the incredible news that missing four-year-old Cleo Smith had been found “alive and well” after a desperate 18 day search, WA authorities are now revealing more details of how they located Cleo — and the man who has since been taken into police custody.
Speaking to ABC local radio in Perth, WA police commissioner Chris Dawson gave as many details as he could, given that the investigation is ongoing.
According to the ABC, Dawson said it was a “police tip-off” that led investigators to a house in Carnarvon, WA, where they found Cleo Smith at around 1am this morning. “There was some information we followed up on. We had been following a lot of the forensic leads and it led us to a particular house.
“We put everything we had at it. So obviously, our homicide squad — trained, experienced investigators/detectives, our analysts, our technical people, drone pilots, air-wing, the whole lot,” Commissioner Dawson said of this morning’s operation.
“We mounted our general duties police who did a tremendous job within minutes of arriving, the first officers in the scene, within minutes, declared it a forensic scene and sealed it off which was just really, really good policing. From that moment on, it’s just been a really dedicated team of well over 100 on the scene itself and we were prepared for a long haul but we’re so, so pleased.”
Commissioner Dawson told the ABC that he had seen the body cam footage of the moment Cleo was found, in which she said according to the police statement: “My name is Cleo.”
“I saw the vision, Cleo is a beautiful little four-year-old girl,” he said. “She’s as well as we could expect in the circumstances. She’s alive, well, smiling, so it is a wonderful, wonderful result.”
WA police confirmed earlier that a man had been taken into custody, and Commissioner Dawson gave a couple more details to ABC radio, saying that the 36-year-old man has no connection to the family.
Cleo Smith was taken from the Quobba Blowholes campsite, around 50 min north of Carnarvon, where she and her family live. She was reported missing on October 16, with police confirming it was an abduction case just days later.
More to come.