was found in a locked home less than an hour’s drive away from the campsite she vanished from.
It raises the possibility the missing little girl was right under the noses of police for the entire 18 day period she was missing.
She could have been stashed at the property by the time the massive Western Australian Police search operation began in the panicked morning after her disappearance.
The four-year-old was miraculously found alive inside the Carnarvon home about 1am on Wednesday.
By car the trip is just 73.7km from the Blowholes campsite she vanished from on October 16 or a 49 minute drive.
Cleo Smith has been found alive and well, 18 days after she vanished from a tent
A map shows how Cleo smith was found 73.7km south of the campsite she vanished from more than two weeks ago
Cleo disappeared from her family’s tent between 1.30am and 6.30am on October 16 as her mother Ellie Smith, step father Jake Gliddon and baby sister Isla were sleeping nearby.
By the time her mother woke to discover she was missing, the youngster may have already been hidden inside the property – which is just a seven minutes drive away from her family home.
WA Deputy Commissioner Col Blanch confirmed the great news just before 7am AEDT that little Cleo is alive and well.
‘One of the officers picked her up into his arms and asked her ‘what’s your name?’ he said.
‘She said: ‘My name is Cleo’.
Cleo was reunited with her relieved parents a short time later.
A man from Carnarvon was arrested at the home and taken into custody to be questioned by detectives.
‘This is the outcome we all hoped and prayed for,’ Deputy Commissioner Blanch said.
‘It’s the outcome we’ve achieved because of some incredible police work.
‘I want to thank Cleo’s parents, the Western Australian community and the many volunteers.
‘And of course, I want to thank my colleagues in the Western Australia Police Force.’
The news has sparked an outpouring of relief worldwide.
‘What wonderful, relieving news,’ Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison tweeted from Glasgow.
‘Cleo Smith has been found and is home safe and sound.
‘Our prayers answered.
‘Thank you to the many police officers involved in finding Cleo and supporting her family.
Cleo Smith (pictured) has miraculously been found alive after vanishing from a remote campsite in Western Australia
2GB breakfast host Ben Fordham broke down live on air while informing listeners Cleo had been found.
Police interviewed more than 110 people who were at the Blowholes campsite on the night Cleo arrived with her family on October 16.
The little girl was last seen in her family’s tent, at the vast campsite on WA’s northwest coast, around 1.30am before his mother and stepfather realised she was missing five hours later.
Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde says the family had stayed near their tent all evening and had not socialised with other campers.
‘I think it’s more than likely an opportunistic-type event,’ he told Perth radio 6PR on Tuesday hours before Cleo was found.
‘We know they got there on the Friday night, it was getting dark, and there would have been limited opportunity for people to observe Cleo at that time.’
Police have stressed the girl’s mother, Ellie Smith, and her partner, Jake Gliddon, are not suspects, nor is Cleo’s biological father.
Investigators have spoken to the vast majority of people who were at the campsite, but are still yet to hear from the driver of a car seen leaving in the middle of the night.
The youngster’s disappearance sparked a widespread search and police investigation
‘We’ve had over 1000 calls to Crime Stoppers from the public,’ Supt Wilde said.
‘We’ve still got a long way to go, a lot of work in front of us but we’re making progress.’
Police this week collected more than 50 cubic metres of rubbish from roadside bins stretching from Minilya to Geraldton.
It was transported to Perth, where forensic officers and recruits sorted through hundreds of bags in search of items that may help them find Cleo.
The state government offered a $1 million reward for information leading to Cleo’s location.
Police say the girl’s disappearance was immediately treated with the highest priority, although it took two hours to establish a roadblock at the site.
Detectives have made several visits to Cleo’s family home in Carnarvon, sought CCTV footage from a range of businesses in the area and collected samples from a campfire at the Blowholes site.
#missing #Cleo #Smith #locked #home #HOUR #blowholes #campsite