Maddie cop fears Cleo Smith, 4, was snatched as four key clues point to abduction

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Four clues could be key to finding Cleo Smith – as a former Met detective says she may have been snatched away like Madeleine McCann.

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Police are on a search for the fifth day after a four-year-old girl disappeared from her family’s tent at a remote campsite in Western Australia.

Four-year-old Cleo Smith is suspected to have been snatched from her family’s tentcredits: 7 News
Police at the scene at the Blowholes campsite in Western Australia

Police at the scene at the Blowholes campsite in Western Australiacredit: 9news

Last night Cleo’s distraught mother Ellie told how she ran around looking for him when she found out she had left at 6 a.m.


Authorities have urged locals to check their compartment for evidence as a forensic team flying from Perth, 500 miles away, has yet to find any traces.

Cleo’s sleeping bag and pink pajamas have also gone missing.

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Last night it was reported that more than 20 known sex offenders live in the area, and a car screaming was heard near the camp site.

Police in Western Australia also revealed that the tent zip is too high for little Cleo to open it herself, and they fear she may have been kidnapped.

Criminologist Dr Graham Hill, a former Scotland Yard detective who worked on the Madeleine McCann investigation, agrees that this is a likely line of investigation.

He told West Australian Young children usually go missing for only two reasons: either they stray and get lost or an accident occurs, or they are carried away.

Dr Hill said: “Considering that she is only a little girl, she is not going that far.

“Little girls and boys get tired very quickly and at midnight they are half asleep anyway.

“The real complication, from what I can see, is that his sleeping bag has gone missing.

“I’d say there’s a remote chance that she got up and took her sleeping bag with her.

“But I think it’s very unlikely because something will go wrong.

“You see where he dragged the sleeping bag, and how far is the four-year-old going in the dark?”

four key clues

Police searching for the missing Cleo Smith face four crucial lines of questioning that suggest she may have been snatched.

Sleeping bag missing: Not only was Cleo missing when her parents woke up, but her red and black sleeping bag was also missing. Experts question whether she would have taken it with her if she simply wandered off on her own. Police released a photo of a similar bag with Cleo’s distinctive pink pajamas. He urged local residents to check their bins if evidence has been thrown inside.

Tent Zip “Too Much”: Inspector John Munday said the door to the family tent was zipped so high that it would have been impossible for a four-year-old to reach it. He continued: “The position of that zipper for the flap is one of the circumstances that has caused us serious concern for the safety of Cleo. Our forensic team has thoroughly examined that tent.”

“Screaming Car Tires”: Deputy Police Commissioner Darryl Gaunt confirmed that police were investigating the camper’s report that Cleo’s mother had last seen him in the tent. “It’s a little unfounded, but we’re not ruling it out,” he said, adding that it was one of several reports from people who noticed strange movements and noises throughout the night.

The usual suspects: Police said ten to 20 sex offenders were known to be in the vicinity of the Blowholes campsite near Carnarvon, Western Australia. Detectives said they have spoken to all of them to investigate their activities, and no one is suspicious at this stage. He also admitted that any kidnapper could have left the area before being interrupted by the police.

Dr Hill said the first hours were crucial in the investigation of any missing child.

He said: “You need to identify and identify everyone who is at that campsite.

“Identify everyone, every vehicle, and make sure they are seen and talked about quickly.

“Because there are two things. One they themselves may be suspects. Secondly they may be witnesses.

“Ideally you’d prevent everyone from leaving the campsite until they’ve given their details and you’ve talked to them.”

Dr. Hill also believes that the remote location is helpful to investigators.

He said: “The general rule of thumb is the more time you have, the fewer people you are.

“So if a little girl goes missing in the middle of Sydney, you’re fighting the clock, because you have more people to pick up the baby.

“Whereas if you’re in a remote campsite, there are fewer people around, it will give you a little more time to play.”

‘Race Against Time’

Police, SES volunteers and drones are continuing to search the area.

Detectives said they are hoping Cleo can be found alive, after surviving a “miracle” of a three-year-old who spent three days alone in the bush in New South Wales.

But Inspector John Munday warned that she could “potentially be anywhere now”, noting that five days have passed since she was last seen.

He added: “We can’t rule out the fact that Cleo may still be in the area, we can’t rule out the fact that she left the area and if she left the area, it’s probably our worst.” The situation is because he paints a horrifying picture of what actually happened.

“It’s a race against time. We’re just trying to find the answer.”

On Wednesday, afflicted mother Ellie appealed to the public for help as she saw Cleo for the last time.

She said her daughter was asking for water at 1.30 a.m. on Saturday, then went to sleep in a separate compartment with her baby girl.

At 6 a.m. Ellie notices that the door is almost open and Cleo is nowhere to be seen.

She said she scoured the Blowholes campsite before getting into her car and “roaming everywhere.”

“We realized we had to call the police because she wasn’t here,” she said.

Describing her nervousness, Ellie said: “Where is she, she needs breakfast, what is she doing? Everything’s going through my mind.”

Mom says she feels “depressed and out of control”, adding: “Everyone asks us what we need and we just want our little girl home.

“She’s beautiful, so sweet, she’s everything you want a little girl to grow up to be.”

Police have released photos of a red and black sleeping bag like the one Cleo used – which is also missing – and her distinctive pink pajamas.

Over the weekend, police urged local residents to check their boxes if evidence was thrown inside.

Police release picture of sleeping bag like Cleo had

Police release picture of sleeping bag like Cleo hadcredit: NSW Police Force
she was wearing the distinctive pink pajamas

she was wearing the distinctive pink pajamascredit: NSW Police Force
Cleo hasn't been seen since early Saturday

Cleo hasn’t been seen since early Saturday

Police admitted that Cleo Smith was suspected to have been abducted after she disappeared from a campsite in the Australian outback.

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