Categories
Entertainment

WA Police to give update on rescue of Cleo Smith



WA Police will give an update on the rescue of four-year-old Cleo Smith who was found just a few minutes from home after being missing for more than two weeks.

West Australian Police will give an update on the rescue of four-year-old Cleo Smith who was missing for more than two weeks before detectives swooped on a property just minutes from her home.

Cleo was allegedly abducted from the family tent at Quobba Blowholes in Macleod, near Carnarvon in the state’s north, on October 16.

It prompted a nationwide search before officers descended on a property in Carnarvon just a short distance from the local police station about 1am on Wednesday.

A 36-year-old man has been taken into custody and Cleo has been reunited with her parents.

Police will soon speak to the media about the incident.

More to come

Originally published as WA Police to give update on rescue of Cleo Smith




Source link

Categories
Entertainment

WA: Police suspect alleged abduction of Cleo Smith was opportunistic



As the desperate search for Cleo Smith enters day 17, the lead detective on the case has revealed some new details.

Detectives believe it is “more than likely” that four-year-old Cleo Smith was abducted in an “opportunistic type event”.

Cleo disappeared from the family tent at the Quobba Blowholes campground, in Macleod near Carnarvon in Western Australia’s north, on October 16.

As the search for the young girl entered day 17 on Tuesday, lead investigator Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde said it was likely Cleo was targeted in a short period.

“It’s more than likely an opportunistic type event,” he told 6PR radio.

“We know they got there … on the Friday night. It was getting dark and so there would have been limited opportunity for people to observe Cleo at that time.”

Cleo woke up at 1.30am, was given some water and went back to sleep, then her mother Ellie Smith realised she was missing about 6am.

Superintendent Wilde said police were examining how someone could take Cleo from the tent without attracting attention.

“That’s what we’re trying to resolve, that’s what were trying to understand,” he said.

“We’re doing a lot of work forensically … we’ve had over 1000 calls to Crime Stoppers.”

Superintendent Wilde said police confirmed Cleo was at the campsite via video footage on a parent’s phone that had a geolocation tag, as well as audio of her voice on CCTV at a nearby shack.

“We’ve got that CCTV but there’s also some video footage that we’ve retrieved off the parent’s phone that puts the fact that the family was there and Cleo was at the campsite,” he said.

“We’ve got some independent forensic material that corroborates that fact.”

Superintendent Wilde also said police had spoken to more than 110 people at the campsite but still wanted “less than a handful” of others to provide information.

“We still believe there may be a couple more that haven’t come forward for various reasons — they may have been camping further away,” he said.

“We are keen for those persons to come forward so we can speak to them. It may be that they witnessed something that may assist us.”

Superintendent Wilde said police were looking at all angles, including people close to the family, but again stressed Ms Smith and Cleo’s stepfather Jake Gliddon were not suspects.

“We keep an open mind with things, but certainly there’s no evidence to suggest that they are suspects or had any involvement in Cleo’s disappearance,” he said.

“We cast the net far and wide, and we look at all of those possibilities … certainly people close to the family (and) all of the people that were in the vicinity.”

He said it was a painstaking process to go through everything.

Acting Police Commissioner Col Blanch told ABC radio that the working theory was that Cleo was likely still in WA.

“We’ve tracked down people that we didn’t know, we’ve found them and we have eliminated them, and that’s our focus at the moment — eliminate as many people as possible,” he said.

Mr Blanch said the forensic work included mapping every inch of the area, using drones and satellite technology.

“Now we’re in a stage where we need to forensically go over that ground inch by inch to see what disturbances might be in nearby areas for any sort of evidence that might give an inkling as to what happened,” he said.

“It could be tyre tracks, it could be the sleeping bag — it could be anything.”

He said police were scouring through a heap of data, including phone tower evidence.

Police said on Monday that they were leaving “no stone unturned”, revealing officers had collected more than 50 cubic metres of rubbish from roadside bins as far north as Minilya and as far south as Geraldton.

A major focus of the police investigation has been centred on a mystery vehicle seen by two people turning right off Blowholes Rd onto North West Coastal Hwy, heading towards Carnarvon, between 3am and 3.30am the day Cleo disappeared.

Police have repeatedly indicated the person may not be a suspect but may have relevant information.

A $1m reward has been offered by the state government for information that solves Cleo’s disappearance.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers.

Originally published as Police suspect the alleged abduction of Cleo Smith was opportunistic




Source link

Categories
Entertainment

WA Premier: Online trolls warned to stop comments about Cleo Smith’s parents



Online trolls saying the most ‘horrible and shocking things’ about the parents of missing girl Cleo Smith have been urged to ‘go back to a sense of decency’.

West Australian Premier Mark McGowan has hit out at online trolls who have accused Cleo Smith’s parents of being involved in the four-year-old girl’s disappearance despite police repeatedly saying they are not suspects.

Police suspect Cleo was abducted from the family tent at the Quobba Blowholes campground, in Macleod near Carnarvon in WA’s north, on October 16.

Mr McGowan, who along with his young family has recently copped threats from anti-vaxxers over his Covid-19 vaccine mandate, said he could sympathise with Cleo’s parents after they were subjected to abuse online.

“They’re going through a huge amount of angst and pain and suffering — they don’t need this,” he told reporters on Sunday.

“I just don’t get why some people get all this courage when they get a keyboard, and they say the most horrible and shocking things that they would never say otherwise.

“I just urge them to stop. This social media world where people are just emboldened to say shocking and horrible things is awful.

“I just urge people to go back to a sense of decency and civility towards one another, particularly (towards) people who are suffering.”

Police have repeatedly said Cleo’s mother Ellie Smith, stepfather Jake Gliddon and biological father Daniel Staines are not suspects in the case.

When asked about the online trolls on Friday, lead investigator Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde said it was terrible.

“They (the parents) have been very helpful. We’re doing everything we can to find out what happened to Cleo,” he told reporters.

“They’re holding up, but I just ask all members of the public, it’s not helpful for anyone to publish anything online.”

Cleo was last seen about 1.30am on that fateful day when she woke to ask for water.

About 6am, when Ms Smith and Mr Gliddon woke up, they discovered Cleo and her sleeping bag were missing, prompting a large scale search.

After authorities and volunteers found no trace of Cleo, police said she was likely abducted, revealing a tent zip was opened to a height the young girl could not have reached.

A desperate nationwide search for Cleo has so far resulted in no suspects, despite police looking into known paedophiles in the area and exploring other avenues of investigation.

Police have also repeatedly searched the family home, collected CCTV and dashcam footage, spoken to campers in the area and made repeated public appeals for information.

Detectives have also been keen to find the driver of a vehicle seen by two people turning right off Blowholes Rd onto North West Coastal Hwy, heading towards Carnarvon, between 3am and 3.30am the day Cleo disappeared.

Police have repeatedly indicated the person may not be a suspect but may have relevant information.

Superintendent Wilde previously revealed there had been more than 200 possible sightings of Cleo reported to police since she vanished but all had proved “unfruitful”.

A $1m reward has been offered by the state government for information that solves the girl’s mystery disappearance.

A GoFundMe page to support the search efforts and Cleo’s family has raised more than $86,000.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers.

Originally published as WA Premier warns online trolls to back off with ‘shocking’ comments about Cleo Smith’s parents




Source link

Categories
Entertainment

Cleo Smith: Mystery driver still unidentified in investigation into missing girl



Detectives investigating the disappearance of Cleo Smith are growing more concerned about a mystery driver.

Police are yet to identify the driver of a vehicle seen in the middle of the night near the campsite where four-year-old Cleo Smith vanished almost two weeks ago.

Lead investigator Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde also confirmed police did not have any suspects “at this stage” in the mysterious case.

Police suspect Cleo was abducted from the family tent at the Blowholes campground in Macleod, near Carnarvon in Western Australia’s north, on October 16, and have been collecting CCTV and dashcam footage ever since in a bid to find her.

For the past week, detectives have been keen to find the driver of a vehicle seen by two people turning right off Blowholes Rd onto North West Coastal Hwy, heading towards Carnarvon, between 3am and 3.30am the day Cleo disappeared.

Police have repeatedly indicated the person may not be a suspect but may have relevant information.

Asked on Friday whether police were growing more concerned about the car given so much time has passed without the person coming forward, Superintendent Wilde said: “It’s a priority for us to identify who was in that vehicle so we’d like that person to come forward … we haven’t identified that vehicle yet and we’d like to do so.”

Superintendent Wilde also provided a timeline of that fateful day, starting with the call from Cleo’s distressed mother Ellie Smith at 6.23am.

The key times included:

  • Just before 6.30am the first car with two officers was sent to the scene under priority two, with lights and sirens going, arriving at 7.10am;
  • 6.41am a second vehicle was sent, followed by a third at 7.44am;
  • 7.26am a protected forensic area was set up at the scene;
  • 7.33am police requested a drone operator attend;
  • 8am some family and friends arrived to help with the search. Meanwhile, detectives visited the family home, then went to the Blowholes and began stopping vehicles close to the search area;
  • 8.09am a local company helicopter arrived to help with the search;
  • 8.11am SES team requested and they arrived just over an hour later;
  • 8.24am Inspector Jon Munday arranged to leave Geraldton to take command in Carnarvon. Police air wing and volunteer search and rescue were also contacted;
  • 8.34am police set up a roadblock at the Blowholes;
  • 9.30am detectives sat with Ms Smith and remained with her all day; and
  • 11am homicide detectives were deployed.

Asked why police did not lock down the campsite immediately when officers arrived at the scene, Superintendent Wilde said: “Obviously, the first police getting there had to establish what’s actually taken place.”

He further added: “It’s a large area … they did a great job by establishing a protective forensic area, containing the tent and all the evidence that may be contained within that immediately, so the first officers at the scene did a really good and thorough job.”

Asked why the marine search was called off early, he said police relied on experts regarding the terrain and water conditions.

A $1m reward has been offered by the state government for information that solves the girl’s mystery disappearance.

Superintendent Wilde previously revealed there had been more than 200 possible sightings of Cleo reported to police since she vanished but all had proved “unfruitful”.

He said on Friday that Cleo’s sleeping bag also remained missing despite some calls from the public.

Ms Smith and Cleo’s stepfather Jake Gliddon have vehemently denied having any involvement in her disappearance.

Police have also repeatedly said they are not suspects, nor is Cleo’s father.

But that has not stopped some internet trolls from accusing them.

“That’s terrible,” Superintendent Wilde said when asked about the online abuse on Friday.

“They have been very helpful. We’re doing everything we can to find out what happened to Cleo.

“They’re holding up, but I just ask all members of the public, it’s not helpful for anyone to publish anything online.”

Forensic officers have searched the family home three times and collected evidence in bags.

They have also returned to the campsite to collect ashes from old camp fires.

A GoFundMe page to support the search efforts and Cleo’s family has raised more than $85,000.

“We are thinking of you and beautiful Cleo all the way from London, England,” one donor wrote.

“We pray and wish her home soon safe and well xx from one mummy to another.”

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers.

Originally published as Police continue to search for mystery driver during the probe into the disappearance of Cleo Smith




Source link

Categories
Entertainment

WA: ‘Spy plane’ used in search for missing girl Cleo Smith



The WA police commissioner has been quizzed on suggestions a ‘spy plane’ was used during the search for missing girl Cleo Smith.

Western Australia’s police commissioner has brushed off suggestions a “spy plane” has been used in the search for suspected abduction victim Cleo Smith, as officers returned to her last known location to collect campfire ashes.

Earlier this week, the Prime Minister revealed the Australian Federal Police were using “very advanced capabilities” that were “leading edge” and it has since been reported by 7 News that it involves a reconnaissance spy plane.

WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson was asked about it during a press conference on Thursday, with a reporter querying the use of a plane almost two weeks after Cleo vanished.

“Obviously it’s a big police operation and in any such operation of this scale we reach out to police forces, not only across Australia, but indeed across the world,” Mr Dawson said.

“The AFP will, like others, assist us with whatever they can. We will accept any opportunity to expand any capability.”

Mr Dawson said he would not go into the specifics about the AFP’s particular involvement.

“We welcome any assistance from any police force around the world,” he said.

Asked again directly if it was a “spy plane or something like that”, Mr Dawson replied: “I won’t go into specifics.”

The AFP refused to comment when NCA NewsWire asked about it.

Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews on Wednesday told federal parliament that the AFP and federal agencies were supporting the work of the WA Police Force.

“Our thoughts are with the family and I can assure them that the advanced capabilities of federal law enforcement are being deployed to aid local efforts to find Cleo,” she said.

“Australians can be certain we will continue to equip our law enforcement and intelligence agencies with the tools and resources they need to combat this very serious crime, especially crimes against children.”

Late on Wednesday, police returned to the Blowholes campground in Macleod, where it is suspected Cleo was taken from the family tent on October 16, to collect ash samples from former campfires.

Officers also spent Thursday morning in Carnarvon’s light industrial area obtaining CCTV footage from businesses.

It comes after a report from two people who said they saw a car turn right off Blowholes Rd onto North West Coastal Hwy, heading towards Carnarvon, between 3am and 3.30am the day Cleo vanished.

Police have been seeking CCTV and dashcam footage from people since Cleo’s disappearance.

Lead investigator Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde landed in Carnarvon on Thursday morning.

Asked if the case could be solved, he said: “We’re really confident.”

Cleo’s mother Ellie Smith and stepfather Jake Gliddon have vehemently denied having any involvement in the young girl’s disappearance.

“No way – we love our daughter and want her home,” Ms Smith told Seven’s Flashpoint program this week.

“There is no way that either myself or Jake could’ve done anything to hurt our daughter.

“She’s been taken from our family, from somewhere she’s meant to feel safe.”

Police have also said the couple are not suspects, nor is Cleo’s father.

Forensic officers have searched the family home three times and collected evidence in bags.

Police said the family had been helpful throughout the investigation and understood it was routine practice.

In a new Instagram post on Thursday, Ms Smith wrote: “If you know anything please call the police! We want our baby home.”

Ms Smith also posted a missing poster, promoting the state government’s $1m reward for information.

Bounty hunters have reportedly joined the search for Cleo in a bid to secure the reward, prompting a warning from police for people to stay safe.

“I think people — whether it’s for the money or whether it’s just to do the right thing and help find Cleo — people are up there trying to find what happened,” Acting Police Commissioner Col Blanch said on Wednesday.

“There’s still a lot of land up there to cover. I just ask that people don’t put themselves in any danger in doing so.”

A GoFundMe page to support the search efforts and Cleo’s family has raised more than $83,000.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers.

Originally published as WA Police refuse to confirm reports a federal ‘spy plane’ has been used in the search for Cleo Smith




Source link