Cleo Smith’s mother has recalled the harrowing moment she woke up in a tent and realised her four-year-old daughter would not be running into her arms that day.
“I felt like my heart told me she’s not here, she’s not going to run into my arms today,” Ellie Smith said in a trailer for a television special.
“She’s not going to run down a sand dune. She was basically nowhere near me and that was the second I realised that someone had her.
“Both my head and my heart connected to that – someone has her and someone had my baby.”
Cleo vanished from her family’s tent while camping at Quobba Blowholes in Western Australia’s north on October 16.
On November 3 – 18 days after she went missing – Cleo was finally rescued from a rundown-looking house in nearby Carnarvon by a team of four detectives.
In another preview clip from the 60 Minutes interview, Ms Smith described her first conversation after Cleo’s rescue.
“Cleo got onto the phone and she’s like ‘hi mummy’, and I was like ‘hi baby’,” Ms Smith said.
“It was such a beautiful moment.”
Asked how young Cleo was coping with the attention, Ms Smith smiled and said: “She loves it.”
“We were in Perth and someone went up to her and they were like ‘hi Cleo’ and she’s like ‘hi, hello’,” Ms Smith said.
“We walked away and she was like ‘mum, how does she know my name?’”
Reporter Tara Brown, who also interviewed Ms Smith’s partner Jake Gliddon, told 6PR radio on Friday that they never gave up hope.
“She would not want anyone to experience the feelings that she had. There was obviously great grief and desperation and fear, absolute frustration,” Brown said.
“There was this mammoth and amazing police investigation going on but there were no concrete leads – there was nothing for them to go on – so it was a very, very dark place.
“But incredibly they never gave up hope. They came to the conclusion very quickly that somebody had taken Cleo.
“They were convinced that Cleo would not have stepped out of that tent on her own.”
Terence Darrell Kelly, 36, last month faced Carnarvon Magistrates Court via video link from the maximum security Casuarina Prison in Perth where he entered his guilty plea to forcibly taking a child aged under 16.
The matter was committed to the WA District Court for a sentence mention on March 25.
Kelly is also facing other charges, including assaulting a public officer, which he is yet to enter a plea to and that matter was adjourned until February 28.