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Cleo Smith Found: Carnarvon Police inundated with letters, flowers, food and gifts of thanks

Cleo Smith’s hero police officers in Carnarvon have been inundated with more mail than they have ever received, with hundreds of letters of thanks being sent from around the country.

In the past month, officers at Carnarvon Police Station have been overwhelmed with gifts, including bunches of flowers and food deliveries as people show their gratitude for their tireless police work in finding the missing four-year-old.

Acting Officer in Charge Senior Sergeant Lindsay Collett said the public’s generosity had “mind-blowing”.

“We’ve been overwhelmed with gifts and cards from all across Australia,” he said.

“We’ve been gifted with food throughout the entire operation from local businesses, and with donations from interstate.

“It’s been phenomenal.”

Sen-Sgt Collett was eager to share some of the hundreds of letters he and his officers had received in the time Cleo Smith went missing from her family’s tent at the Blowholes on October 16, and the week following her rescue 18 days later.

A letter sent by a grateful three-year-old.
Camera IconA letter sent by a grateful three-year-old. Credit: Supplied

Sen-Sgt Collett admitted there’d been so many letters that it had been “impossible to read all of them”, but officers had the chance to look at most of them.

He said the notes lifted the spirits of officers who had been working hard from the moment Cleo disappeared from her tent at the Blowholes to her rescue 18 days later.

“It’s definitely had a touching effect on the officers, cause we’ve never seen an outpouring like this before,” he said.

“I caught the coppers on the floor reading the cards, so it was quite good to see that, as it was obviously a very tough time for them.”

Among the large collection of letters still on display inside the local station were hand-written correspondences from Melbourne, Tasmania, Sydney and the Northern Territory.

Also proudly displayed is a craft mural decorated with colourful cut-outs of children’s hands. On each traced shape is a little note written by students from Carnarvon Christian School’s pre-primary class.

Some of the cards sent to Carnarvon Police.
Camera IconSome of the cards sent to Carnarvon Police. Credit: Supplied

A letter sent in, signed off by three-year-old Ruby, said: “Dear Police, Thank you for rescuing Cleo for her Mum, Dad and little Sister. You did an amazing job. My mum explained to me that you help kids who are lost and I can ask Police for help.”

“Bravo on your tireless work in locating little Cleo,” Susan Kilkenny wrote.

It is not the first time the police involved in the search for Cleo have been lauded in such high praise, however, most of the spotlight has until now been focused on the detectives who swooped in to carry Cleo to safety in the early hours of Wednesday November 3.

That team, which included Det-Sen. Sgt Cameron Blaine and Det-Sgt Jason Hutchinson, are among several in line for police medals.

Others on the list of individuals who played an integral part in Cleo’s rescue were Det-Supt Rod Wilde — who was in charge of the operation, codenamed Taskforce Rodia, as well as the 140-strong team behind it, Det-Sen. Const. Kurt Ford and Det-Sen. Const. Drew Masterson.

Cleo was found alone, locked inside a room in a home on Tonkin Crescent in Carnarvon on November 3.

Officers stormed the duplex at 1am to find the four-year-old awake and quietly playing with toys.

Around the same time, Terence Darrell Kelly, the man accused of kidnapping her, was arrested in a car nearby.

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