Cleo Smith ‘more than likely’ was abducted at ‘opportunistic event’, lead investigator says

Australian Police investigating the disappearance of Cleo Smith believe the four-year-old was ‘likely’ abducted as search entered the seventeenth day.

Lead investigator in the case, Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde, said it was “more than likely” Cleo was abducted at “an opportunistic event”.

Cleo disappeared without a trace in the early hours of Saturday morning on October 16 from her family’s tent at the Quobba Blowholes campsite in Western Australia.

Western Australia Police said in a statement on Monday they were leaving “no stone unturned” in the search for the little girl, with the state government offering a $1 million reward for information resulting in finding Cleo or leading to the arrest of the person or people involved.

In an interview with 6PR radio on Tuesday Inspector Wilde said anyone camping at the same site would have had a “limited opportunity” to observe Cleo as the family arrived late on Friday afternoon as the light was fading.

“We’ve stated that Cleo woke up at 1:30am, was given a drink by her mum and then at, 6:30am, or shortly after 6am she was gone, so they’re the time frames we’re looking at,” he said.

Inspector Wilde further revealed authorities believe “nothing unusual” occurred on the Friday night Cleo’s family arrived at the camp, saying the family pitched the tent, ate dinner and the two children went to sleep around 8pm.

He said the parents also “had a quiet night, around the campfire and that’s it”.

Police have identified and spoken to more than 110 people who were at the campsite on the evening of October 15, the superintendent confirmed.

Investigators also believe there are a few people who were at the site who have not yet come forward to speak to police.

Inspector Wilde also reissued the police’s appeal to locate the occupants of a vehicle turning out between 3:00am and 3:30am on Saturday morning and travelling south towards Carnavon.

“We haven’t identified the vehicle, it is of interest to us,” he told Mr Bartlett.