Cleo Smith: Police release audio of moment they found missing four-year-old

Man charged with abduction after child vanished from family’s tent at remote campsite

Chiara Giordano
Thursday 04 November 2021 10:46
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‘My name is Cleo’: Police release audio of moment they found Cleo Smith

Police have released an audio recording of the moment missing four-year-old Cleo Smith was found at a house in Western Australia.

An officer can be heard saying “I’ve got you bubby, you’re alright” as another asks the child “What’s your name, sweetheart?”

After being asked a third time, the child finally responds: “My name is Cleo.”

The youngster had been playing with dolls inside a room with the light on at the time, according to police.

Cleo disappeared from her family’s tent at the remote Blowholes Shacks campsite in Macleod in the early hours of 16 October, triggering an extensive search by land and aerial crews, along with roadblocks and CCTV footage.

The youngster was found safe on Wednesday after police raided a locked house in Carnarvon, a town about 62 miles south of the campsite and just two miles from her family home.

Terry Kelly, 36, appeared in court on Thursday charged with a string of offences, including forcibly taking a child under 16.

Police said the man was twice taken to hospital for self-inflicted injuries before being interviewed and charged with various offences related to the abduction.

He has been remanded into custody and is expected to appear in court again on 6 December.

After meeting her family, state premier Mark McGowan said Cleo was a “very bright, upbeat, sweet little girl” and looked “very well adjusted”, considering her ordeal.

Specialist child interviewers are expected to speak to the youngster, authorities said, while her parents have been instructed on how to talk to her to preserve her memory.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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