Got A Tip?

Star Seeker

Viral: News

Cleo Smith's Disappearance: Suspect Identified As Officials Release Emotional Footage Of 4-Year-Old's Rescue

Cleo Smith's Disappearance: Suspect Identified As Officials Release Emotional Footage Of Rescue

Now that Cleo Smith has been found, more details about her kidnapping and rescue are coming to light.

As you may have heard, the 4-year-old Australian girl was missing for 18 days after disappearing from her family’s campsite in mid-October. Thankfully, Cleo was finally reunited with her parents earlier this week!

On Wednesday, police released video and audio footage from the moment the young tot was rescued from a locked home in Carnarvon, about 62 miles from where she had been camping at Blowholes Shacks, but only around a 10-minute drive from her home. In the first clip shared by the Western Australian Police Force, someone can be heard saying:

“We’ve got her. We’ve got her.”

Related: Mother Searching For Missing Son & His Friend Has Now ALSO Disappeared!

A few voices sound relieved before one man asks:

“What’s your name sweetheart?”

To which the child hesitantly responds:

“M- My name is Cleo.”

In an interview with Sunrise, deputy police commissioner Col Blanch reflected:

“When she said, ‘My name is Cleo,’ I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house.”

That seems to be the reaction from every authority figure who hears the short audio, he added:

“This morning I have seen seasoned detectives openly crying with relief.”

The department also shared a video from “the moment Cleo was rescued,” in which she is seen carried out of a home. Take a look:

Police told reporters that Cleo seemed “physically OK” from the moment they found her locked in a room playing with toys. She was taken to the hospital for assessment and is now back home with her family. She has yet to be interviewed by a child specialist to determine exactly what occurred while she was abducted for nearly three weeks. So far, police are just astonished that she is acting “like a 4-year-old girl should,” Detective Senior Sergeant Cameron Blaine, who found Cleo in the house, told local media:

“I’m sure that it has had an impact, but just to see her behaving quite naturally like a 4-year-old girl should do and just enjoying being in the presence of her little sister and her family was good.”

The detective continued:

“I can only see her on the outside, but from that point of view, I’m amazed that she seems to be so well-adjusted and happy, and it was really … heartwarming to see that she’s still bubbly and she’s laughing.”

While the toddler may be safe and sound now, the investigation is far from over. Police have arrested 36-year-old Terence Kelly for the crime, who they believe acted “spontaneously” and “solely alone.” Little is known about him so far except for the fact he was obsessed with Bratz dolls, often seen posing with the figurines for pics on his social media, including one imagine where he also wears a Bratz doll t-shirt (HERE).

Neighbor Henry Dodd told the that he saw Kelly driving with a dozen dolls in the backseat of his car about a week before Cleo was rescued.

Terence, barefoot and wearing a T-shirt, appeared in Carnarvon Magistrate’s Court on Thursday to face charges for the kidnapping, including forcibly taking a child under 16. These charges came after a 30-hour interrogation. During the hearing, he reportedly said:

“What the f**k are the media doing here?”

He also shouted:

“I’m coming for you!”

Other than that, he didn’t talk during the court appearance. He merely nodded when asked if he understood the charges against him and his attorney, a Geraldton Aboriginal Legal Service lawyer, did not request bail. Kelly is expected back in court in December.

Blanch spoke with ABC Radio Perth to discuss what the investigation looks like moving forward. He shared:

“From the police perspective, we’re backing away from the conversations around Cleo and really focusing on how did this happen, who was involved, what happened in those 18 days and what evidence do we have from each and every one of those 18 days forensically.”

The case will include the hardworking cops who helped rescue the little girls, as well. The deputy police commissioner continued:

“There’s a real huge investigation going on with the same taskforce members and that is to retrace those steps that led to that house and where we found Cleo.”

New details about the search to find Cleo have also now been released.

Related: Mother Begs For Answers After Teen Daughter Vanishes During Trip To New Jersey Deli

For starters, police immediately viewed the case as an abduction. The young girl’s mother Ellie Smith first reported her missing around 6:20 a.m. on October 16, after she and her partner Jake Gliddon (Cleo’s stepfather) could find no trace of her at the campsite. Ellie told local media through tears:

“I turned around to Jake and just said, ‘Cleo’s gone.’”

The momma added:

“I would never wish for anyone to wake up and feel that feeling that went through me. I couldn’t explain it to you.”

Crews scoured air, sea, and land for Smith over 18 days. Six days into the search, Rob Wilde, a detective superintendent with the Western Australian police, admitted:

“Given the information now that we’ve gleaned from the scene, the fact that the search has gone on for this period of time and we haven’t been able to locate her … it leads us to believe that she was taken from the tent.”

The very thought of that seemed to haunt Ellie as the search raged on, she said during a press conference:

“How did someone come into that tent and take Cleo? How? How could someone feel that they could do that to someone? How could someone take a child?”

The WA Government offered a 1 million AUD ($750,000) reward to help get more information from the public. It would take more than two weeks for cops to look through surveillance footage, the dark web, trash, and even knock on doors to get any insight they could. They also searched the Smith home for clues, though the parents were never considered suspects. Finally, it was a “tip off” from the public that sent them to Terence’s quiet Carnarvon neighborhood on Tuesday night. Matching the info with cellular data, police tracked down Kelly at his home but waited until he left in a car to then pull him over and handcuff him.

Cleo Smith's Disappearance: Suspect Identified As Officials Release Emotional Footage Of Rescue
The home Cleo was rescued from / (c) TODAY/YouTube

About an hour later, they busted into his home to discover Cleo alone in a locked room. Western Australia Police Minister Paul Papalia praised the relentless investigators for working all hours of the day to reach the happy result, saying:

“Cleo’s rescue was not the result of an accidental sighting or a suspicious event, it was the result of hard police grind.”

“They have performed magnificently well. The care that they showed … they were beautifully tender with her, wonderful servants of the public and we should all be proud of them.”

Wow. It took an amazing team of people to locate Cleo! We’re so glad she’s back with her loved ones and continue to wish for healing for all the Smiths as they process this trauma.

[Image via TODAY/YouTube & Ellie Smith/Instagram]

Related Posts

Nov 05, 2021 09:00am PDT