The Prime Minister has assured Cleo Smith’s devastated family that the Australian Federal Police are using secret technology and tactics to help find the missing four-year-old girl.
Cleo vanished from her family’s tent at the Blowholes Campground in Macleod, near Carnarvon in Western Australia’s north, on October 16 and Scott Morrison described the situation as “heart breaking”.
“I just want to assure everybody over there in WA, particularly the family and friends of poor Cleo, this is really capturing the minds of the country,” Mr Morrison told 6PR radio on Tuesday.
“It certainly has captured our minds here — our hearts just go out to them.
“But in terms of technology and tradecraft, the AFP have some very advanced capabilities, leading edge, not just here in Australia but all around the world.
“As much as I’d love to reveal exactly what some of those are, and how they’re being used, we certainly can’t talk about that on air.
“But the AFP are there, they’ve joined that process. I’m very pleased to say that they’re helping in every way they possibly can, through their intelligence capabilities, their technology and their forensics abilities.
“I just hope we can find Cleo, I just really do. I just think the whole nation is just waiting and hoping and praying — we certainly are.”
Premier Mark McGowan renewed his call for anyone with information to come forward.
“If people can find Cleo and bring her home to her family, the reward is there,” he said.
“We all would hate to think that we had some knowledge that could have saved the life of a little girl and we didn’t pass it on.
“So just pass on whatever you have in your knowledge and you could be in receipt of $1m, but more importantly, you can save the life of a little girl.”
Earlier, it was revealed CCTV from a home on the side of North West Coastal Hwy in WA had been seized by police.
According to 7NEWS, the footage is believed to show a car driving off about 3am on Saturday, which is within the time frame that Cleo may have been taken.
Cleo was last seen in the tent about 1.30am on October 16 when her mum Ellie Smith got her a drink of water. She was reported missing about 6am.
Police fear she was abducted and have announced a $1m reward for information that solves the mystery.
Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde revealed police were seeking information on a car seen turning out of Blowholes Rd in the early hours of October 16.
Two witnesses, described by Superintendent Wilde as “credible sources”, were travelling together for work north along the highway and spotted a car turning right off Blowholes Rd and heading south between 3am and 3.30am.
Witnesses at the campsite also reported hearing tyres skidding about 3am.
“What we’re hoping for is the persons that were in that vehicle to come forward and make themselves known to police so we can speak to them,” Superintendent Wilde said.
“We want to speak to the driver and persons in the vehicle, if there was more than one, to establish what exactly was going on and what they were doing.
“They’re not a suspect, we just want to establish who they were and what they were doing.”
Superintendent Wilde said police believed it was a passenger vehicle and not a truck.
Deputy Police Commissioner Col Blanch said a “significant amount” of Crime Stoppers reports had flooded in since the $1m reward was announced last week.
He said detectives were still trying to track down the car believed to have turned out of Blowholes Rd.
“We are still processing large amounts of information,” he said on Monday.
“The priority for the investigation at this time is for everyone that was at the campsite during that Saturday morning to come forward to police.
“We need to speak to every single person that was there and we haven’t yet done so.”
Mr Blanch also urged property owners to check their abandoned sheds or any other buildings.
“We’ve got a large search area looking for Cleo or evidence, and that’s something we would ask is for everyone to check their sheds, their cars or locations that might be abandoned, that’s something that I would encourage,” he said.
Police have also called for anyone with CCTV, security or dashcam footage within a 1000km radius of the Blowholes campsite to send through their footage.
Footage of motel check-in and communal areas, service stations, fast-food outlets and bakeries, truck stops and camping areas, children’s clothing stores, pharmacies and cosmetic and camping stores are particularly important.
Police requested footage or images from 6pm on Friday, October 15 to 6pm on Sunday, October 17.
The WA Premier said he was hoping against hope for a good outcome and that Cleo is found alive somewhere.
“If anyone has taken her, please give her back to her parents,” Mr McGowan said.
Footage can be uploaded online or discussed with Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Anyone with other information is urged to call police on 131 444.