Accused child snatcher Terence Kelly was previously seen driving around at the campsite where he was alleged to have abducted Cleo Smith, a local camper says.
The camper, who has strong ties to the area and often spends weekends at the Blowholes campsite, said he knew of Mr Kelly and had seen him several times at the site, about 70km north of Carnarvon, driving a four-wheel-drive.
But the man — who was at the campsite on Saturday — said he never saw Mr Kelly camp the night.
Mr Kelly, of Carnarvon, is accused of snatching the four-year-old from a tent that was set up among several tin shacks on October 16.
The shacks are owned by local people and are often passed down generations. Cleo was found locked inside Mr Kelly’s Carnarvon home 18 days later.
Caretaker and Blowholes Tucker Box owner Brett Kilgallon said it was the quietest Saturday he had experienced since opening the business a couple of months ago.
Mr Kilgallon — who was one of the first to help in the land search for Cleo and cried when he was told she was found alive 18 days later — said he would be “devastated” if tourists and locals avoided the Blowholes because of what happened.
It came as The Sunday Times learned police and forensics may take up to two months to finish collecting evidence from Cleo Smith’s alleged abductor’s Carnarvon home.
A large forensic tent was erected at the front of the property on Saturday morning with about half-a-dozen officers, dressed in full body suits and masks, seen walking around the duplex.
Officers were seen examining a bedframe in the backyard of the home — with one of them also pictured holding a box of coloured pencils and pens.
The one-bedroom property, located just 1.5km from the local police station and 3km from Cleo’s family home, has been cordoned off for nearly four days while police painstakingly examine every item inside.
Several large brown paper bags were seen stacked near the forensic marquee.
Detectives from the Taskforce Rodia team were seen talking to some neighbours on Saturday morning, following up reports.
Described as a ‘loner’, Kelly lived alone in a well-known government housing precinct that locals dubbed “Toxic” Crescent, and was also a regular at Carnarvon Central.
It is understood his grandmother lived with him in the property before she died last year.