It may seem that police have little to go on in the desperate search for little Cleo Smith — but in fact they have unearthed more valuable clues than most of us realise.
As the hunt for the four-year-old has turned from a search for the youngster since she vanished from her family’s tent at the Blowholes campsite in the early hours of Saturday, October 16, to a full-blown pursuit of an abductor, the clues have been adding up.
Here’s what we know so far.
Friday, October 15, late afternoon
Cleo and her family — mum Ellie Smith, stepfather Jake Glidden and little sister Isla — arrive at Blowholes campsite in Macleod, 75km north of Carnarvon.
Ms Smith tucks Cleo into bed.
Saturday, October 16, 1.30am
The last sighting of Cleo in the tent she shared with her parents and baby sister. Police say her parents had an “interaction” with her before going back to sleep.
Ms Smith wakes to give Isla a bottle an finds Cleo and her sleeping bag and the tent wide open.
Family search for the four-year-old before calling police.
Police arrive. A full-scale search is launched involving SES, aircraft, drones and sea vessels.
Monday, October 18
Police start to suspect foul play.
BEDTIME OUTFIT & SLEEPING BAG
Cleo was last seen sleeping in a red and greyish black sleeping bag and was wearing a pink/purple suit with a blue and yellow pattern.
Neither the clothes she was wearing or the sleeping bag have been seen since she vanished.
Campers claim to have heard the sound of a car’s screeching tyres on the night Cleo vanished.
While the clue is largely unsubstantiated, police have not ruled it out.
The zip of the tent was too high for four-year-old Cleo to have opened and left in that position herself.
It raises the likelihood that someone else opened the door to the tent and took the four-year-old.
Two people travelling together along the North West Coastal Highway in the early hours of Saturday, October 16, saw a car turn right off Blowholes Road between 3am and 3.30am.
The witnesses said the vehicle headed south towards Carnarvon on North West Coastal Highway. Cleo went missing between 1.30am and 6am.
Cleo’s voice can be heard on CCTV footage from nearby shacks at the Blowholes.
The motion-sensitive camera picked up the family’s vehicle and recorded Cleo talking just after they arrived at the campsite on Friday, October 15.
Forensics officers scoured the home of Cleo’s mum Ellie Smith and stepfather Jake Gliddon for several hours on Tuesday, October 26, leaving with several evidence bags.
A large portion of the search was focused on obtaining DNA from fences and windows.
RAKING OVER ASHES
Ashes taken from campsites: Forensics officers returned to the Blowholes on Wednesday, October 27, checking out campsites and taking samples of ashes from burnt-out campfires. They were in the area for a few hours.
CAUGHT ON FILM
Police have gathered film from businesses such as bakeries and children’s clothing stores within a 1000km radius of the Blowholes.
They have also sought CCTV and dashcam footage from motels, service stations, fast food outlets, truck stops and free camping areas, pharmacies, cosmetic and camping stores as far south as Lancelin.
Police have also collected film from “shops, houses, everything” along the entire North West Coastal Highway stretch.
Multiple teams of police on Thursday, October 28, flooded the Carnarvon light industrial area collecting CCTV footage.
Industrial warehouses and offices were visited, mostly along Robinson Road — the main entrance to the Gascoyne town.