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Cleo search: WA Police reveal how they placed missing girl near Blowholes camping ground before disappearance

WA Police have revealed how they placed Cleo Smith near the Carnarvon campsite she is feared to have been abducted from in the lead up to the little girl’s suspicious disappearance.

Acting Police Commissioner Col Blanch said today that CCTV vision captured from shacks, near the Blowholes camping ground where the family was staying, had shown the four-year-old.

“There were a couple of CCTV cameras in the area and it’s through an analysis of that,” he told media on the sixth day of the desperate search.

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Mr Blanch added police were yet to look over the vision “forensically” but said it was something that would become “the focus of our investigation”.

A land search in the immediate vicinity of the camp ground will wind down on Friday with the focus to shift to a criminal investigation.

“Given the information now that we’ve gleaned from the scene, the fact that the search has gone on for this period of time and we haven’t been able to locate her … it leads us to believe that she was taken from the tent,” Detective Superintendent Rob Wilde told reporters.

Missing girl Cleo Smith, 4.
Camera IconMissing girl Cleo Smith, 4. Credit: Facebook / Ellie Smith/Facebook / Ellie Smith

Homicide detectives have been assigned to the criminal investigation into her disappearance, dubbed Taskforce RODIA.

Supt Wilde said authorities were keeping an open mind in relation to whether Cleo may have been taken by someone known to her.

Police have not ruled out the possibility Cleo may have been taken across interstate borders.

“We’ve been in touch with all jurisdictions around Australia,” Supt Wilde said.

Police search one of the shacks at the Blowholes campsite.
Camera IconPolice search one of the shacks at the Blowholes campsite. Credit: Phoebe Pin/Geraldton Guardian

It comes as a $1 million reward, the equal biggest ever offered in WA, was put on the table for information which leads to the Cleo’s return.

The little girl vanished from her family’s tent at the Blowholes camping ground in MacLeod, north of Carnarvon, in the early hours of Saturday morning, sparking a large-scale search which has seen crews already cover 20sqm.

“All Western Australians’ thoughts are with Cleo’s family during what is an unimaginably difficult time,” Mr McGowan said.

“We’re all praying for a positive outcome.

Cleo’s mother Ellie Smith said she and her partner Jake Gliddon had last seen the four-year-old about 1.30am on Saturday in the family’s tent at the Blowholes camping ground.

They woke around 6am, when Cleo’s baby sister Isla wanted a bottle, to discover Cleo was gone and the tent was “completely open”.

“She would never leave us, she would never leave the tent,” Ms Smith said.

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