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Missing four-year-old girl found in Australia after two-week search, police confirm

Cleo Smith was found in a “locked house” in the coastal town of Carnarvon.

Cleo Smith
Cleo Smith
Image: Western Australia Police Force

A FOUR-YEAR-OLD Australian girl was found “alive and well”, police said today, more than two weeks after she had gone missing during a family camping trip.

Cleo Smith was found in a “locked house” in the coastal town of Carnarvon, not far from where she was last seen, early on Wednesday morning locally (Tuesday night in Ireland), Western Australia police said in a statement posted to Facebook.

“It’s my privilege to announce that in the early hours of this morning, the Western Australia Police Force rescued Cleo Smith,” Deputy Commissioner Col Blanch said in the statement.

Police forced their way into the house and found the young girl inside, Blanch said, before she was then reunited with her parents.

“One of the officers picked her up into his arms and asked her ‘what’s your name?’,” Blanch said in the statement.

“She said – ‘My name is Cleo’.”

Police detained a man from Carnarvon for questioning, Blanch said.

“This is the outcome we all hoped and prayed for,” he added.

Police last month had offered Aus $1 million (about €642,000) for information leading to Cleo’s recovery after she was feared abducted from her family’s tent at a remote campsite in a coastal tourist spot, about 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) north of Perth, on 16 October .

Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde said at the time that the investigation “leads us to believe that she was taken from the tent”, and that authorities had reason to fear for her safety.

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Her mother, Ellie, described waking at 6am to find the tent unzipped and her eldest daughter missing.

Cleo Smith’s disappearance has drawn national attention, with many Australians taking to social media to express their anguish for her family as investigators mounted an extensive air, sea and ground search.

In his Facebook, statement, Blanch said there would be more information about the investigation forthcoming.

© AFP 2021 

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