Terrifying new clue in Cleo Smith's disappearance that points towards disturbing reality the four-year-old WAS snatched from her family tent as her mum slept

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Cleo Smith was last seen at Blowholes campsite near Carnarvon on Saturday Disturbing new detail reveals tent zipper was too high for the little girl to reachIt points to the 'worst case scenario' Cleo was abducted while her family sleptPolice commissioner said up to 20 sex offenders live in the Carnarvon area Assistant Police Commissioner Darryl Gaunt say police won't rule anything out Campers have reported hearing sounds of screeching tyres in middle of night 

A disturbing new clue in the disappearance of toddler Cleo Smith has pointed to the ‘worst case scenario’ the little girl was snatched from her tent as her family slept. 

It has been revealed little Cleo was too small in stature to reach the zipper of the tent, which was found hanging open by her mother at 6am, to open it herself. 

The four-year-old was last seen by her parents at about 1.30am on Saturday in the family’s tent at the Blowholes campsite near Carnarvon on Western Australia’s north-west coast. 

WA Police have announced they are now focusing on investigating the ‘worst case scenario’ that little Cleo was abducted from the tent and other campers at the site claimed they heard the sound of a car speeding off around 3am. 



Cleo vanished from the Blowholes campground near Carnarvon, on WA's remote northwest coast, in the early hours of Saturday morning

Cleo vanished from the Blowholes campground near Carnarvon, on WA’s remote northwest coast, in the early hours of Saturday morning

The disturbing new detail comes after police revealed up to 20 sex offenders live near the campsite where missing toddler Cleo Smith was last seen five days ago.  

Detectives have since confirmed they are investigating nearby campers’ claims they heard the sound of ‘screeching’ tyres in the early hours of the morning.  

Assistant WA Police Commissioner Darryl Gaunt said on Wednesday police were not ruling any possibilities out about what may have happened to Cleo. 

He confirmed there were ‘between 10 and 20’ known sex offenders around the Carnarvon area. 

Mr Gaunt said detectives have been making inquiries about their whereabouts but officers believe that none were involved at this point. 

In relation to the car sounds, he told 6PR Radio: ‘We haven’t ruled it out or in, it’s a little bit unsubstantiated but we’re not ruling it out. 

‘We have a lot of information from people within or who have been in the area.

‘They have reported certain noises or activities – most have been explained.’ 

Daily Mail Australia exclusively revealed Cleo had asked her parents for a sip of water at about 1.30am on Saturday in the final ‘interaction’ she had with her parents. 

The search for Cleo (pictured with mother Ellie and sister Isla) has entered its fifth day with police saying they will not rule anything out

The search for Cleo (pictured with mother Ellie and sister Isla) has entered its fifth day with police saying they will not rule anything out

Cleo was nowhere to be found when her mother and stepdad woke in their shared tent at around 6am on Saturday

Cleo was nowhere to be found when her mother and stepdad woke in their shared tent at around 6am on Saturday

Police roped off the area where Cleo vanished from her tent (pictured) in the middle of the night as they continue to investigate her disappearance

Police roped off the area where Cleo vanished from her tent (pictured) in the middle of the night as they continue to investigate her disappearance 

When her mother Ellie Smith and stepdad Jake Gliddon woke up at 6am their daughter was gone.   

Meanwhile, police have received information from people ‘from around the world’ adding police are treating the little girl’s disappearance as a ‘search and rescue mission’.

‘To say we’re treating this as an abduction is not correct, we’re treating it as a search-and-rescue mission, first and foremost, and that remains our mission,’ he said.  

He added that as the search enters its fifth day ‘the more time goes on the less chances we’ll find Cleo alive’. 

Meanwhile, police have received information from people 'from around the world' adding police are treating the little girl's disappearance as a 'search and rescue mission'

Meanwhile, police have received information from people ‘from around the world’ adding police are treating the little girl’s disappearance as a ‘search and rescue mission’

The red and grey sleeping bag Cleo had been inside has also vanished, with Mr Gaunt saying more resources have been added to the investigation. 

‘At this stage we’re not really finding much that tends to give us an impression one way or the other as to what’s happened,’ he said. 

Cleo was not physically seen at the campsite when the family arrived on Friday, Mr Gaunt said, but there was enough evidence to ‘reassure’ detectives she was there.

Ms Smith told reporters when she woke in the morning the tent zipper had been almost completely opened and that Cleo had been sleeping in a separate part of the tent.

Ellie Smith is seen with Cleo (left) and her baby sister Isla. The mother said when she woke in the morning the tent zipper was nearly completely open

Ellie Smith is seen with Cleo (left) and her baby sister Isla. The mother said when she woke in the morning the tent zipper was nearly completely open

The entire area has been declared a potential crime scene, with the campsite closed and investigators begging for anyone who has been in the area to come forward.   

Police are focusing their efforts on investigating the ‘worst case scenario’ that little Cleo was abducted from the tent while her family slept, with a complex criminal investigation underway. 

 

The important details Cleo Smith’s terrified mum revealed in her heartbreaking TV interview – as police focus on ‘worst case scenario’ that she was snatched while her baby sister slept metres away

Cleo Smith’s shell-shocked mother has revealed the four-year-old had been sleeping metres from her baby sister before she disappeared from the family’s tent, as police focus on a ‘worst case scenario’ where the little girl was snatched in her sleep. 

Ellie Smith and her partner, Jake Gliddon fronted the media for the first time on Tuesday as the fourth day of the search for little Cleo came to a close. 

The four-year-old was last seen about 1:30am on Saturday near the Blowholes campsite north of Carnavon in Western Australia before she seemingly vanished. 

Ms Smith said she had woken up around 6am on Sunday to find their tent zipper was nearly completely open and her four-year-old nowhere to be seen. 

She revealed Cleo had been sleeping in a separate area of the tent, with her baby sister just metres away. 

Police are now focusing their efforts on investigating the ‘worst case scenario’ that little Cleo was abducted from the tent while her family lay sleeping, with a complex criminal investigation underway.



Police are becoming increasingly concerned that little Cleo (pictured) may have been abducted in the early hours of Saturday morning

Police are becoming increasingly concerned that little Cleo (pictured) may have been abducted in the early hours of Saturday morning

Ellie Smith and her partner, Jake Gliddon (pictured) fronted the media for the first time on Tuesday after four-year-old Cleo (middle) went missing near the Blowholes campsite north of Carnarvon in Western Australia five days ago

Ellie Smith and her partner, Jake Gliddon (pictured) fronted the media for the first time on Tuesday after four-year-old Cleo (middle) went missing near the Blowholes campsite north of Carnarvon in Western Australia five days ago

Inspector Jon Munday said Cleo could ‘potentially be anywhere now’ given five days have passed since she was last seen.  

‘We can’t rule out the fact that Cleo may be still in the area, we can’t rule out the fact she’s left the area and if she’s left the area that is probably is our worse case scenario because that really paints a sinister picture with what’s happened.

‘It is a race against time. We’re just trying to find answers.’ 

The entire area has been declared a potential crime scene, with the campsite closed and investigators begging for anyone who has been in the area to come forward.

Investigators called it ‘a mystery we’re trying to unravel’, as they revealed ‘quite a lot of people’ had been staying at the Blowholes campground that night. 

This means it will be even more difficult to check for tyre markings on the sandy road leading up to the ground, amid reports some campers heard a car speed off around 3am on Saturday morning.

Cleo’s mum explained her daughter had been inside a red and grey sleeping bag beside the cot of her younger Isla when she disappeared.  

‘As we passed the (tent) divider, I went into the other room and the zipper was open,’ she said. ‘She was gone. The tent was completely open.’ 

Police have not ruled out any theories relating to her disappearance – including the possibility that she was abducted. 

Ms Smith (pictured) said she woke up at 6am on Saturday to find their tent zipper was almost completely undone and her four-year-old daughter Cleo nowhere to be seen

Ms Smith (pictured) said she woke up at 6am on Saturday to find their tent zipper was almost completely undone and her four-year-old daughter Cleo nowhere to be seen

The four-year-old was last seen by her parents (pictured with her mum Ellie and partner Jake Gliddon) about 1.30am on Saturday when she woke up and asked for a drink

The four-year-old was last seen by her parents (pictured with her mum Ellie and partner Jake Gliddon) about 1.30am on Saturday when she woke up and asked for a drink

They are considering the possibility that if she was kidnapped, Cleo could already have been moved interstate.

Her shattered mother said she prays her daughter is still close-by.

‘We hold hope that she is still here somewhere. If I think about the idea of her being taken, a million things cross my mind,’ Ms Smith said. 

She said she doesn’t believe Cleo left the tent on her own accord and said she would have asked for assistance unzipping her one-piece sleeping suit. 

‘She’s lazy when it comes to walking. She’d never leave that tent alone,’ she said, adding that someone has to know where the little girl is.

The devastated mum said the first thing she said to her partner when she realised her little girl was missing was: ‘Cleo’s gone, Jake’. 

Ms Smith (pictured) has insisted Cleo would never leave the tent on her own and said she would have asked her mum for help unzipping her one-piece sleeping suit

Ms Smith (pictured) has insisted Cleo would never leave the tent on her own and said she would have asked her mum for help unzipping her one-piece sleeping suit 

The devastated couple (pictured) have asked the public to report anything they see 'big or small' to police to help bring their beloved Cleo back home

The devastated couple (pictured) have asked the public to report anything they see ‘big or small’ to police to help bring their beloved Cleo back home

The couple began to frantically search their tent and the surrounding campsite in hopes they would find the four-year-old before notifying police.  

Ms Smith said she has no clue what happened to her daughter and despite thinking of ‘a million’ different scenarios still feels helpless. 

‘The worst part is that there’s nothing more we can do. It’s out of our hands now and we feel hopeless and out of control,’ she admitted.    

She said while her friends, family and the local community had been ‘so supportive’, all she wanted was her ‘beautiful, funny and delicate’ daughter to come home. 

The couple have asked the public to report anything they see ‘big or small’ to police. 

‘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’.  

 An intense search for the missing four-year-old (pictured) resumed about midday local time on Tuesday after wild weather and a storm cell forced emergency services to call it quits

It marked the first time the couple have spoken publicly since little Cleo vanished,  with Ms Smith issuing an urgent plea for help to social media on Sunday. 

‘It’s been over 24 hours since I last saw the sparkle in my little girl’s eyes!’ she wrote on Facebook. 

‘Please help me find her! If you hear or see anything at all please call the police.’ 

An intense search for the missing girl resumed about midday local time on Tuesday after wild weather and a storm cell forced emergency services to temporarily call off the hunt.  

Mounted police officers arrived at the scene to assist with homicide and major crime forensic investigators, as well as local police.

Investigators have searched a number of shacks along the coastline at the campsite, and a helicopter and drones were also deployed.

Cleo Smith woke up in the middle of the night and asked her parents for a sip of water hours before she disappeared

Cleo Smith woke up in the middle of the night and asked her parents for a sip of water hours before she disappeared 

Detectives will continue to ‘track and trace’ guests at the campsite and comb through CCTV and dashcam footage provided by members of the public. 

It has been confirmed that CCTV footage has been seized from roadhouses in the area as part of the investigation. 

It comes after Daily Mail Australia revealed Cleo woke up in the middle of the night and asked her parents for a sip of water hours before she disappeared.

Police referenced an ‘interaction’ between the four-year-old and her parents about 1.30am on Saturday – sparking intense public scrutiny that something sinister occurred.

But Daily Mail Australia confirmed the detective was referring to something as innocuous as ‘asking for a sip of water’ in the middle of the night, before she rolled over and went back to sleep.

Mounted police officers arrived at the campsite (pictured) on Tuesday to assist with the search

Mounted police officers arrived at the campsite (pictured) on Tuesday to assist with the search

A land search was suspended on Tuesday due to wild winds and an intense storm - but was later resumed in the desperate hope Cleo is still nearby

A land search was suspended on Tuesday due to wild winds and an intense storm – but was later resumed in the desperate hope Cleo is still nearby

‘There is nothing to suggest anything suspicious occurred in that moment,’ a police source said. 

‘It was just a word. Nothing out of the ordinary took place.’

The detective who initially made the comment has since confirmed he was referring to Cleo asking for water.

‘What I can confirm is that the four of them (the family) were in the family tent, Cleo was spoken to about 1.30am when she woke up to get a drink, everyone went back to sleep,’ Insp Munday said. 

Ms Smith and Mr Gliddon immediately alerted all other campers in the vicinity after waking at 6am to feed Isla a bottle and realising Cleo was nowhere to be seen. 

There are fears Cleo (pictured) may have wandered off in the dead of night, only to fall into one of the many holes nearby. But close family friends insisted the four-year-old wouldn't do that

There are fears Cleo (pictured) may have wandered off in the dead of night, only to fall into one of the many holes nearby. But close family friends insisted the four-year-old wouldn’t do that

Police Inspector Jon Munday said experts have advised the four-year-old could have wandered up to 5.2km from her last known position if she is lost in the bush

Police Inspector Jon Munday said experts have advised the four-year-old could have wandered up to 5.2km from her last known position if she is lost in the bush 

By the time police and emergency services arrived, some guests had sent up private drones to search from the sky and others were using motorbikes to scour the area.

There has been no sign of the little girl since her parents’ final brief exchange with her at 1.30am.  

Mr Munday confirmed police had interviewed Cleo’s biological father Daniel Staines at the Mandurah Police Station on Monday, where he willingly provided a statement.

‘It is just normal police practice that we speak to everybody involved in the family,’ the inspector said. 

Cleo Smith, four, was last seen at about 1.30am on Saturday at the Blowholes campsite on the coast at Macleod, north of Carnarvon, in Western Australia (pictured, the campsite Cleo went missing from)

Cleo Smith, four, was last seen at about 1.30am on Saturday at the Blowholes campsite on the coast at Macleod, north of Carnarvon, in Western Australia (pictured, the campsite Cleo went missing from)

Police are probing all possibilities of Cleo's mystery disappearance - including kidnapping - and have been scouring bushland and stopping cars and caravans in search of the missing girl

Police are probing all possibilities of Cleo’s mystery disappearance – including kidnapping – and have been scouring bushland and stopping cars and caravans in search of the missing girl 

Insp Munday vowed to continue ‘throwing everything at this’ for as long as it takes to bring Cleo home. 

‘We’re keen to get this messaging out nationally to anybody. She could be anywhere by now which is really concerning.’ 

The inspector has been leading the search and repeatedly fronted the media to provide an update on Cleo’s disappearance and the search efforts. 

The camp ground is located 75km from Carnarvon and 875km from Perth with nothing but bushland and scrubs in between. 

Some campers reportedly heard a vehicle speed off at about 3am on Saturday, but police have so far declined to comment on the matter. 

Cleo's mother Ellie Smith and her partner Jake Gliddon immediately alerted all other campers in the vicinity when they realised she was missing (pictured, four-year-old Cleo left with mum Ellie)

Cleo’s mother Ellie Smith and her partner Jake Gliddon immediately alerted all other campers in the vicinity when they realised she was missing (pictured, four-year-old Cleo left with mum Ellie)

Police say they have grave concerns for the child (pictured)
Investigators say 'everything is on the table' in the unusual and disturbing case

Police say they have grave concerns for the child (pictured) and that ‘everything is on the table’ in the unusual and disturbing case

Cleo is estimated to be around 110 centimetres tall with honey blonde coloured hair and hazel eyes. She has reportedly visited the area with her mother on camping trips since she was a baby.

There are mounting concerns for her welfare, particularly if the four-year-old did simply wander off and remains exposed to the elements. 

West Australian Premier Mark McGowan said his thoughts were with Cleo’s loved ones during what undoubtedly was an ‘extremely difficult’ time. 

‘To every officer and volunteer involved in search can I say thank you for your efforts on behalf of the Smith family,’ the leader state on Tuesday. 

‘To Cleo’s family and on behalf of West Australians, we are thinking of you at this difficult time.’

Anyone with information is asked to contact police immediately on 131 444. 

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