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Cleo’s alleged abductor under close watch

Cleo Smith’s alleged abductor has spent his first night behind bars in Perth as specialists continue the delicate task of interviewing the little girl.

Terence Darrell Kelly, 36, is being held in a maximum-security remand prison while awaiting his next court hearing in December.

He has been charged with various offences including forcibly taking a child under 16.

Kelly was shackled and accompanied by armed riot squad guards on a charter flight from Carnarvon to Perth on Friday.

The extra security was put in place after Kelly was twice hospitalised with self-inflicted injuries while in custody in the small coastal town almost 1000km north of Perth.

Kelly appeared before a magistrate in Carnarvon on Thursday and was remanded in custody ahead of the matter returning to court next month. He is alleged to have acted alone and is yet to enter a plea to his charges.

Police say he has no connection to Cleo’s family.

Four-year-old Cleo was found alive and well early on Wednesday, 18 days after she went missing from her family’s tent at the remote Blowholes campsite.

She was rescued from a property just minutes from her family home in Carnarvon, about 75km south of the campsite.

Police forced entry to the home and found Cleo alone in a room, physically unharmed and playing with toys.

Kelly was arrested on a nearby street around the same time.

Cleo’s mother Ellie Smith and stepfather Jake Gliddon on Friday released a statement thanking everyone involved in Cleo’s rescue.

“We are humbled by the love and support that we have received from not only our local community but the whole of Western Australia and across the country,” they said.

“We are so thankful that our little girl is back within our arms and our family is whole again.”

Cleo has been spoken to by specialist child interviewers in recent days, a process that is likely to gradually continue over coming weeks.

Homicide detective Cameron Blaine, who was among Cleo’s rescuers, said the girl’s parents had been advised not to ask her too many questions about her ordeal.

“That must be incredibly hard for them so we certainly appreciate their assistance and co-operation with that,” he said.

“But as we’ve said all along, Ellie and Jake couldn’t have been more co-operative and more understanding of the police work that’s gone on. We want to see a successful prosecution at the end of the day for the person responsible.”

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