Cleo Smith’s desperate mother has asked the burning question on the lips of the entire nation, as she asks her missing daughter – ‘my princess, where are you?’
Ellie Smith posed the harrowing question on Instagram on Thursday night as the sixth day of the desperate search for her little one comes to a close.
She posted a photo of her daughter and tagged a video created by thePolice to raise awareness of the $1million reward offered to anyone with information.
The reward comes as police reveal after six days of land, sea and air searches for the missing four-year-old they still have no ‘concrete suspects’ – but now believe she was likely abducted.
Cleo’s devastated mother posted a photo of her daughter and tagged a video created by the WA Police to raise awareness of the $1million reward offered to anyone with information
Ellie Smith asked the harrowing question at around 6pm on Thursday night as the sixth day of the desperate search for her little one (pictured) comes to a close
The $1million reward will go to anyone who has any information that could lead police to the culprit, who detectives fear snatched Cleo as her family lay sleeping.
Cleo disappeared from the family tent at the Blowholes campsite north of Carnavon in Western Australia between 1.30am and 6am on Saturday.
She, along with her mum, stepdad Jake Gliddon and baby sister Isla had only arrived for the weekend getaway hours prior.
Police now believe an abduction took place because the zipper of the tent was found undone at 6:30am, even though Cleo is too short to reach it.
WA Police Inspector Jon Munday said the height of the zip opening was a major factor in the possibility Cleo was now in the hands of an unknown third party.
‘The positioning of that zipper for the flap is one of the circumstances which has caused us to have grave concerns for Cleo’s safety,’ he said on Wednesday.
Ellie Smith made another harrowing statement at 6am on Thursday morning – exactly six days after she discovered her eldest daughter was missing
Ms Smith (pictured) woke up on Saturday morning to find her tiny daughter missing, as well as her red and grey sleeping bag, launching the search that has spread nation-wide
Ms Smith woke up on Saturday morning to find her daughter was missing, as well as her red and grey sleeping bag, triggering the search that has spread nation-wide.
Police are still considering the possibility Cleo has been taken interstate, with other campers claiming they heard the sound of tyres screeching at 3am on Saturday.
Detective Superintendent Rob Wilde told reporters on Thursday WA Police have been in talks with all jurisdictions around Australia.
‘We have got the nation looking for Cleo. Today’s announcement is to say everyone needs to be looking for Cleo,’ he said.
‘Look at people who have acted strangely since the 16th (of October), look at people who have been in that area … ask questions.
‘We want to get this information out there and if anyone Australia-wide has information that could be relevant to the investigation, we ask that they call Crime Stoppers.’
Premier Mark McGowan announced the $1million reward would go to anyone who could give information on Cleo’s location, or lead to an arrest or conviction of those involved in her disappearance.
‘It’s a very sad situation, a very difficult situation,’ the Premier said on Thursday.
Police now believe an abduction took place because the zipper of the tent found undone at 6:30am was too high for little Cleo (pictured) to reach it
Mother Ellie Smith and step-father Jake Gliddon (pictured) were distraught during their first press conference since the disappearance of Cleo Smith on Saturday
‘I just urge anyone who has any knowledge of the location of Cleo, please provide that information to police and ensure that we can provide some certainty and information to Cleo’s loved ones and hopefully bring Cleo back safe and sound.’
From Friday, police will focus their attention on pursuing a criminal investigation rather than searching the vicinity of the Blowholes Campsite.
Homicide detectives from Taskforce RODIA will join the search as authorities keep an open mind for the possibility Cleo was taken by someone known to her.
‘Given the information now that we’ve gleaned from the scene, the fact that the search has gone on for this period of time and we haven’t been able to locate her … it leads us to believe that she was taken from the tent,’ Superintendent Wilde said on Thursday.
However, Inspector Jon Monday said teams would remain in the area until they were satisfied Cleo was no longer there, as well as her family who remain close-by.
Volunteers, local Indigenous bush trackers and mounted police returned to the campsite on Thursday, with over 100 police officers now involved in the operation.
The search at the campsite has shifted away from looking for the little girl in ‘high probability’ areas to places that Cleo could have walked herself.
Ms Smith, who is a local in the area and has frequented the Blowholes Campground many times said she looked for Cleo in places she would have hid as a child.
Investigators also plan to revisit nearby shacks along the coastline.
The search at the campsite (pictured) has shifted from looking for the little girl in ‘high probability’ areas to places that Cleo could have walked herself
Ms Smith (pictured with Isla, right, and Cleo, left) has made a series of heartbreaking pleas for her little one to be returned home
From Friday, police will focus their attention on pursuing a criminal investigation rather than searching the vicinity of the Blowholes Campsite (pictured)
Acting police commissioner Col Blanch revealed CCTV vision from a nearby shack had placed Cleo at the campsite on the night in question.
He described the investigation as ‘wide open’ with the Crime Stopper line running hot with hundreds of calls reporting suspicious people in the area.
Officers have spoken to at least 20 registered sex offenders who live in the surrounding area, however none are considered suspects.
Ms Smith appeared emotional during a press conference on Tuesday while she described having the horrifying realisation Cleo was gone.
‘As we passed the (tent) divider, I went into the other room and the zipper was open,’ the shell-shocked mum revealed. ‘She was gone. The tent was completely open.’
The devastated mum said the first thing she said to her partner Jake Gliddon when she realised her little girl was missing was: ‘Cleo’s gone, Jake’.
‘I know she can get through whatever she’s going through,’ a teary Ms Smith said.
‘We’re going to find her, we have to’.
All you need to know about Cleo’s disappearance
Friday 6.30pm: Cleo and her family arrive at the campsite as the sun begins to set. They quickly set up their tent and get settled in, feeding both of the girls.
Friday 8pm: Cleo went to bed while her younger sister and parents stayed up for a little while longer.
Saturday 1.30am: Cleo woke up asking for a drink of water. Ellie tended to her and checked on Isla, who was in a crib right next to Cleo’s mattress in one room in the tent.
Saturday 6am: Ellie woke up to Isla wanting a bottle. She passed the divider that separated the two rooms in the tent and immediately noticed the zipper was almost entirely open. Cleo was gone.
Saturday ‘mid-morning’: Police and emergency services arrive to assist with the search, starting with local Carnarvon officers.
Sunday: Cleo’s mum issues a desperate plea on Facebook to find her daughter.
Sunday/Monday: Homicide detectives, bush trackers and more volunteers are brought in to assist with the search.
Monday: Police confirm Cleo’s grey and red sleeping bag also disappeared. They are yet to comment on whether there were marks that indicate it was dragged from the tent.
Police reveal they are not ruling out any possibilities relating to Cleo’s disappearance.
Tuesday morning: Search is suspended due to wild weather.
Daily Mail Australia confirms the ‘interaction’ Cleo had with her mother was ‘not sinister’ and simply the four-year-old asking for a sip of water.
Tuesday midday: Search continues again as storm passes.
Tuesday 1.30pm: Cleo’s mum and stepdad, Jake, speak to the media for the first time since she disappeared, revealing key pieces of evidence, including:
– The tent they were staying in was left almost entirely open. Cleo and Isla were in the room nearest to the entrance, which was unzipped when Ellie woke up at 6am. Isla remained in her crib unharmed, but Cleo was gone
– Cleo is ‘not the sort of child to wander off’ and would have woken her parents if she needed anything, like when she woke hours earlier to ask for a sip of water
Wednesday: Police confirm reports a car was heard ‘screeching off’ from the campsite at about 3am.
Assistant Commissioner Darryl Gaunt revealed there are ‘between 10 and 20’ known sex offenders in the Carnarvon area, but none are suspects into Cleo’s disappearance following inquiries.
‘We don’t have any concerns about that,’ he said on 6PR Mornings.
‘I know part of the investigative strategies have included reaching and making inquiries into their whereabouts and movements, and this point in time we’re very comfortable where we sit with those inquiries.’
Investigators confirm Cleo would be too short to open the tent zip by herself, stoking fears she was abducted
Thursday 12.30pm local time (3.30pm AEST): WA Premier Mark McGowan offers $1million reward for any information which leads to Cleo coming home or the arrest and conviction of those responsible for taking her
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