The disappearance of missing four-year-old Cleo Smith has gripped WA for five days. Here is how the desperate search unfolded:
Friday, late afternoon
Cleo and her family arrive at Blowholes campsite in Macleod, north of Carnarvon.
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.
Parents awake to find Cleo is missing. An extensive search conducted by parents and other campers is launched without success.
Police arrive. A full-scale search is launched involving SES, aircraft, drones and sea vessels.
Search suspended at last light but efforts continue, with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority search and rescue jet doing night-time patrols with heat-detecting surveillance equipment.
Land search resumes with SES volunteers, volunteer search and rescue and fisheries officers scouring the coastline. Australian Army’s Pilbara Regiment is also requested to help.
Inspector John Munday says police are “gravely concerned” for Cleo’s safety and reveals officers won’t rule out an abduction. He confirms detectives from Perth are involved in the investigation.
The marine search for Cleo is scaled back as investigators focus their attention on land and roads.
Police release an image of the red and grey sleeping bag missing from Cleo’s tent.
Cleo’s biological father is interviewed by police in Mandurah. He is asked to provide a statement to police and does so willingly.
Heavy rainfall and wind gusts of up to 75/km at the Blowholes put the search for Cleo on hold. The search resumes a few hours later as WA Police issue a national appeal for information on the missing girl’s whereabouts.
Cleo’s parents give a heartbreaking interview describing the terrifying moment they realised she had vanished from their tent — and their certainty she would not have wandered off by herself.
Police say they “haven’t ruled out” reports from campers who heard the sound of screeching tyres in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Deputy police commissioner Darryl Gaunt confirms officers are inquiring about the whereabouts of the almost 20 registered sex offenders living in the Carnarvon area as part of the investigation into Cleo’s disappearance.