Police are keeping a close watch over the home of Cleo Smith’s alleged kidnapper, with a dedicated group of officers patrolling the street every hour of the day, seven days a week.
A team of local cops were assigned to keep watch of Terence Darrell Kelly’s Tonkin Crescent home on Thursday, after the crime scene tape that had been wrapped around the property for nine days was finally torn down.
Prior to that the duplex-style property had been under constant police guard and scoured by forensics since November 3 — the day four-year-old Cleo was found locked inside a room inside the home.
A week-and-a-half later on Thursday, the property that had been the global focus of Taskforce Rodia since Cleo’s rescue was finally boarded up by contractors and the front gate slammed closed.
That and 24/7 police patrols now being conducted in the area are all part of authorities’ efforts to protect the property from looters and even potential vigilante attacks.
Carnarvon Acting Officer in Charge Sen-Sgt Lindsay Collett told The West Australian that the station had a “dedicated” team whose sole focus was protecting Kelly’s home.
“Of course we do. We’ve got a number of vehicles patrolling Tonkin Crescent — dedicated officers designated to that area,” he said.
“To specifically patrol that street.”
One crew was seen driving in the area and pulling cars over for random breath tests throughout Friday night.
Another was spotted driving past the house, slowing down on approach, several times on Saturday morning.
“They’re out there 24/7, patrolling,” Sen-Sgt Collett said.
Despite a large cohort of people seen gathering on the street the night before, he said police “haven’t had any issues yet”.
It comes after some locals expressed concern the place could be damaged, broken into or targeted by firebombers as what remained of the large contingency of police officers, forensics and detectives that have flooded Carnarvon for weeks leaving on Friday afternoon.
One neighbour was so scared of possible “revenge” attacks he revealed he was moving out of the duplex.
“The house will be smashed,” he told 7NEWS. “A lot of people are disappointed and angry about what has happened, so there’s a greater chance that once the police are gone, we expect something will happen.
“100 per cent sure they will come here and smash the house.”
Forensics were at Mr Kelly’s home every day since Cleo was found apart from Wednesday November 10, when a chemical called Superfume was sprayed inside to turn up any latent fingerprints.
In the nine days it was under guard, the home was turned upside down as detectives searched for evidence.
Trailers’ worth of items of interest including a Bratz doll, crayons, and a bed frame were taken for examination in Perth.
A Mazda SUV in Mr Kelly’s driveway was also examined and tagged with “evidence” stickers.
The vehicle is not understood to be the car police allege Me Kelly was in when he was arrested 11 days ago.
Cleo vanished from the tent she shared with her mother Ellie Smith, baby sister Isla and step-father Jake Gliddon at the Blowholes camp site on October 16.
A $1 million reward was offered for information that would lead to finding the missing girl, a team of 140 officers were selected for Taskforce Rodia, a massive operation dedicated to investigating Cleo’s disappearance.
Eighteen days later, detectives were led to Mr Kelly’s house and the little girl was found alive locked inside a room alone, where she uttered the now-famous words “my name is Cleo” to her rescuers.
Mr Kelly was flown to Perth under guard on Friday November 5, before a team of heavily-armed officers transported him to Casuarina Prison.
He arrived at the maximum security jail in shackles at 1.50pm and was immediately whisked inside the facility.
He will be remanded at the prison — home to some of WA’s most high-profile prisoners including Claremont killer Bradley Robert Edwards, Rebels-turned-Mongols bikie David Pye, accused of masterminding Nick Martin’s assassination, and the former soldier who killed the Rebels boss — until his next court appearance in December.