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Australian media wrongly identified Aboriginal man as Cleo Smith abductor

A man wrongly identified as the abductor of Carnarvon toddler Cleo Smith says he was deeply distressed by the monumental mistake.

Terry Flowers, also known by his mother’s name, Kelly, had his photo plastered all over social media yesterday in connection with the case of four-year-old Cleo Smith.

He said he was very excited to hear that Cleo had been found at a home in Carnarvon.




“I rang my partner and told her they found that baby, that girl. We was happy for her,” he said.

But soon after, while at Karratha hospital with his own child, he got another call.

“My sister rang me and told me they’ve got my photo up for the person who took the girl,” he said.



When he saw his photo on a social media post he went to the local police station for assistance.

The post was taken down but picked up by several television stations.

“We seen it up on Channel 7 and Sunrise page. I got upset and went back into the police station,” he said.

“I ended up getting more upset and I had a panic attack in the police station.”

He was so distressed he ended up needing medical treatment.

“I got really upset yesterday. It put me in a state where I had to come into the hospital,” he said.

“They gave me drugs just to calm me down.”

He says the media outlet should have done its job properly.




“That stuff is not acceptable,” he said.

“What they did was go straight on Facebook. The first person they seen got through my photos and uploaded on social media, and spread it around, not just in Australia, this is worldwide.”

He says he’s been talking to lawyers about taking legal action.

“I want them to do their job more seriously, and professionally and I’m gonna end up suing them anyways, cause it’s not the right thing for them to be doing,” he said.