Police expect to lay charges as early as Wednesday in relation to the “opportunistic” abduction of Cleo Smith.
Detectives investigating the case also believe at this stage that a 36-year-old man taken into custody in the early hours of the morning was acting alone.
At a press conference in Carnarvon on Wednesday Det. Supt. Rod Wilde, who led the search, said detectives believed at this stage that the 36-year-old man was acting alone. He said charges would “probably” be laid today.
“There’s no other person that we suspect being involved,” he said.
“It appears as though it was opportunistic.”
At the emotional press conference in Carnarvon WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said the force “never gave up hope” that Cleo Smith would be found alive.
The State’s top cop was clearly emotional as he held a photograph of the smiling four-year-old sat in a hospital bed overnight.
Mr Dawson spoke of his pride for the 140 officers who were involved in finding the little girl, who had been missing for 18 days after she was snatched from her family tent at the Blowholes campground.
“What a great day. We now have returned Cleo to her loving parents. It’s a wonderful day for this little girl and her loving family,” he said.
“It’s a really special day for WA and indeed I know the nation is rejoicing the fact we’ve been able to conduct this operation.”