Home / World News / Cleo Smith search: Aboriginal elder Hazel Walgar warns bounty hunters, searchers looking for missing girl

Cleo Smith search: Aboriginal elder Hazel Walgar warns bounty hunters, searchers looking for missing girl

A respected Baiyungu elder has warned of the dangerous conditions bounty hunters and inexperienced searchers would face if they chose to battle the Mid-West’s rugged terrain in the desperate search for Cleo Smith.

Bounty hunters have reportedly arrived in the town of Carnarvon and the Gascoyne region earlier this week, as the State Government’s $1 million reward for information leading to the four-year-old’s return lures people to the search.

But traditional owner Hazel Walgar, who lives near Coral Bay, said she “has concerns” for searchers without extensive knowledge of the land, road networks and conditions in the area north of Carnarvon.

“It is very dangerous, you’ve got to know the tracks and know the roads,” she said.

“You are up in really rugged terrain areas and would want to have the knowledge to know which track to take.

“One of the main things we thought about when the little girl went missing is we hope she didn’t come along this track — it’s no man’s land.

“I have concerns about people who are not experienced in searching. I hope nothing happens to them.

Traditional owner and Baiyungu woman Halzel Walgar has voiced concerns about bounty hunters or potential inexperienced searchers looking for missing four-year-old Cleo Smith.
Camera IconTraditional owner and Baiyungu woman Halzel Walgar has voiced concerns about bounty hunters or potential inexperienced searchers looking for missing four-year-old Cleo Smith. Credit: Supplied

“We have a heavy heart and sadness if anything happens to people in our traditional country.”

Mrs Walgar said young Cleo lived near her family in South Carnarvon and said she desperately hoped the “darling little kid” would be found.

“For us as the traditional owners and the Baiyungu people, we really and truly hope that she is found,” she said.

“She is always waving and saying hello to us.

“They are a good family. We just want her home.”

The Baiyungu woman also said her local community had been fighting for the Quobba Gnaraloo Road between the Blowholes campsite and Coral Bay, via popular surfing spot Gnaraloo Station, to be closed altogether because it poses too much danger to visitors and runs through significant Aboriginal locations.

Missing girl Cleo Smith with her mum Ellie.
Camera IconMissing girl Cleo Smith with her mum Ellie. Credit: Ellie Smith/TikTok

“We have always wanted the track closed because it is well and truly isolated and the track runs through a lot of our heritage sites,” Mrs Walgar said.

“If you go on that road and you break down, you’re well and truly away from help.

“The road could be an access for anybody now. Anybody could go on that road.”

Earlier this week, Acting Deputy Police Commissioner Col Blanch said he had no issues with searchers joining the effort for financial gain.

“We do welcome anyone who can help find Cleo,” he said.

“I will ask that people not put themselves at danger or at risk in doing so, but certainly we are seeking everyone, including the property owners up there with abandoned sheds or anything else.”

The bounty hunters have joined an army of volunteers and locals searching the Carnarvon region — from derelict buildings to popular tourist sites — for Cleo.

About brandsauthority

Check Also

Adelaide’s Veart praises spirit in draw

Adelaide United coach Carl Veart has hailed the courage of his players to knock reigning …

%d bloggers like this: