Cleo Smith rescue: Neighbour says suspect was seen buying nappies and ‘acting weird’ before police swooped

After interview where neighbour Henry Dodd notes suspicious details in neighbour’s activity, some online are calling for him to receive the $1m offered by police

Maroosha Muzaffar
Thursday 04 November 2021 10:35
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Related video: Moment missing Cleo Smith is found by police

A neighbour says he observed the suspect in the abduction of four-year-old Cleo Smith acting strangely, including buying nappies just two days before police swooped to rescue the missing Australian girl, leading to some calls online that he be rewarded for this information.

Henry Dodd lives on the same street where Cleo was found alone but “alive and well” in a locked room in Carnarvon, Western Australia.

In an interview, Mr Dodd recalled that the 36-year-old suspect had been behaving strangely just days before the police raided the house at midnight on Tuesday.

He had also spotted him buying nappies at a nearby store.

Mr Dodd said: “The other day, I think it was Monday, we saw him buying Kimbie’s in Woolworths but we didn’t click on why he was buying them or who he was buying them for. Up until now…”

The Western Australia Police had announced a $1million reward early during the investigation.

Mr Dodd told 7 News’ Sunrise show: “He’s been acting a bit strange lately. He will get in his car, drive that fast. He doesn’t have his dogs at the front [normally], he has his dogs out the back, but through this week he had his dogs out the front and he has been acting weird.”

As soon as the neighbour’s interview was shared on TikTok by a user, many in their replies suggested he be rewarded for his skills of observation. Police have said they acted on a tip-off as well as other data in raiding the house in question, though there is no suggestion at this stage that Mr Dodd was involved in this himself.

Mr Dodd had said of the suspect that “everyone that knows the person that stays in that house, wouldn’t think that it would be him. We got a shock ourselves that it was him.”

The TikTok video was viewed almost a million times and liked by 86,000 people so far. One user said: “Million dollar reward is all yours mate! Take it and rejoice my brother!”

Another named Sarah Oscia said: “Hope they give him the reward money, he’s a true hero!”

Another user, Hine Tapatu, wrote: “He deserves that million.”

One user who goes by the name Georgina Sullivan warned that “he better get that reward money or us Aussies are going on a rampage”.

However, it seems unlikely that the police will give him the reward money. Acting Police Commissioner Col Blanch was asked by reporters on Wednesday if anyone will be collecting the $1m reward money, to which he replied: “I don’t think so, no.”

Four-year-old Cleo Smith was found alone in a locked house after being missing for 18 days. She had been reported missing on 16 October from the Blowholes campsite where she was staying with her family.

Mr Blanch said that this was the first time in the state’s history that a $1m reward was announced in the first week of an investigation. He added that the announcement had led many to send tips and leads.

He said: “[The reward] raised the profile so much, we have the community come out [in] strong support. Everybody looking for Cleo, everyone was rallying.”

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