Cleo Smith missing update – Vital theory 'RULED OUT' as desperate cops hunt driver of mystery vehicle seen near campsite

POLICE investigating the disappearance of Cleo Smith want to speak to the driver of a car seen in the area on the morning of her disappearance.

The vehicle was seen turning south off Blowholes Road between 3am and 3.30am at the Blowholes campsite, a remote location north of Carnarvon.

Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde said the reported sighting of the car was a “very recent development” in the investigation.

He said: “We want the person or persons who were in that vehicle to come forward and contact police. We want to know who they were and what they were doing.”

Meanwhile, police investigating the possibility someone had been scoping the house in the days and weeks prior to Cleo’s disappearance said there was no evidence the family was being stalked.

Detective Superintendent Wilde said a search for fingerprints and other evidence on the outside of the home was “part of standard investigations of this nature”.

“There’s no evidence, there’s no information that Cleo was stalked at all,” he added.

Read our Cleo Smith live blog below for the latest updates..

  • Joseph Gamp

    Cleo Smith’s stepdad breaks silence

    CLEO Smith’s stepdad has broken his silence over the disappearance of the four-year-old.

    Little Cleo was reported missing in the early hours of the morning last Saturday after her parents could not find her at the campground where they were staying in Western Australia.

    The youngster’s stepfather Jake Gliddon shared an image of Cleo’s missing poster to his Instagram story, the first time he has posted about her disappearance.

    And in a series of posts to her Instagram stories alongside images of Cleo, her mum Ellie Smith wrote: “We all need her home.”

    “Where are you baby,” she captioned another image.

    Read more here.

  • Joseph Gamp

    ‘People out there that we want to speak to’

    Citing “credible sources” reporting the vehicle in the vicinity, Det Supt Wilde added that there were also other “people out there that we want to catch up with and to speak to”.

    Cleo was reported missing in the early hours of the morning last Saturday after her parents could not find her at the campground where they had been staying.

    Police have been urgently searching rugged terrain near the remote campsite for the young girl, and now believe she was abducted, saying “grave concerns are held for Cleo’s safety”.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Police appeal for dashcam footage and information

    On Friday police put a public call out for video and dashcam footage from anyone who had been within a 1000km radius of the campsite.

    They are especially interested in any vision taken from:

    • Motel check-ins and communal areas
    • Service stations
    • Truck stops and free camping areas
    • Fast food outlets and bakeries
    • Children’s clothing stores
    • Pharmacies and cosmetic stores
    • Camping stores
    • Joseph Gamp

      Explained: What happened the night Cleo went missing?

      Cleo Smith was last seen in her family’s tent at about 1.30am on Saturday at the remote Blowholes Shacks campsite in coastal town Macleod, around 900km (559 miles) north of Perth.

      She was sharing a tent with her mother, her mother’s partner and her baby sister.

      When the family woke in at 6.30am the tent’s zip was undone and Cleo was missing, along with her sleeping bag.

      Witnesses at the campsite have reported hearing the skidding of tyres at around 3am.

    • Joseph Gamp

      Cleo’s mother feels ‘hopeless and out of control’

      “We realised we had to call the cops because she wasn’t here,” said Cleo’s mum Ellie.

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

      The mum says she feels “hopeless and out of control”, and added: “Everyone asks us what we need and all we need is our little girl home.

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

    • Louis Allwood

      Investigators have spoken with 20 sex offenders but none are suspects

      Investigators had spoken to up to 20 registered sex offenders in the Carnarvon area, but there were no suspects.

      “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,” Det Supt Rob Wilde said.

      He said authorities were keeping an open mind in relation to whether Cleo may have been taken by someone known to her.

      Cleo may have been driven eight hours away from the campsite where she was last seen, cops suggested as they piece together the her whereabouts.

      Another suggestion is that Cleo was taken to the town of Kalbarri – some five hours away – and may have passed through the suburb of Meekatharra, which is 670km south-east.

    • Louis Allwood

      $1million reward

      West Australian authorities have offered a $1million reward for information leading to Cleo’s location.

      Some time between 1.30am and 6am on Saturday October 16, police believe a person unzipped the large family tent and took a sleeping Cleo.

      It has been confirmed the zipper on the tent was found open to a height Cleo could not have reached, seemingly ruling out the possibility she wandered off on her own. Her red and black sleeping bag is also missing.

      The Blowholes campground site is an isolated spot, 30 minutes off the North West Coastal Highway with only one sealed road in and out for tourists, fishers and the handful of shack-dwellers who make their way there.

      Police have also appealed for any dashcam or CCTV footage recorded last weekend within a 1,000km radius of the Blowholes campsite but only as far south as Lancelin.

    • Louis Allwood

      Who is Cleo Smith? 

      Cleo Smith is a four-year-old Australian girl who went missing while camping with her parents in the outback.

      The family were staying at the Blowholes Campsite near Macleod about 50 miles north of Carnarvon, Western Australia.

      She was wearing a bright pink pyjama suit with blue and pink flowers and butterflies printed on it when she was last seen.

    • Joseph Gamp

      ‘There is still hope’ for Cleo

      The mother of a West Australian girl kidnapped and killed more than two decades ago has said “there is still hope” in Cleo’s disappearance.

      Margaret Dodd, whose daughter Hayley was abducted and killed by Francis John Wark in 1999, told 7 News she could “feel the pain” Cleo’s loved ones were going through.

      “It just brings it all back, because you know what you’ve gone through and you’re hoping that your little one will be found alive,” she said.

      “Everything has been thrown at looking for this little girl and that really makes me very happy. There is still hope.”

    • Joseph Gamp

      Cleo may have been taken across state borders

      Police have not ruled out the possibility Cleo may have been taken across state borders.

      Detectives from the WA Police homicide squad as well as forensics and local detectives are investigating her disappearance.

      They say there is a possibility Cleo may have been driven eight hours away from the Blowholes campsite

    • Joseph Gamp

      Cleo's voice recorded on beach shack CCTV

      The West Australian reported that audio of Cleo was recorded on a single CCTV camera at a beach shack just 20 metres from where she was staying, the day before she vanished.

      The surveillance device, which records audio and is motion-sensitive, is attached to the front of the building to capture footage of all those entering and leaving the shack.

      Police have confirmed that the girl's voice was heard on the camera, and that the force has taken copies of the footage.

      After examining it, they confirmed on Sunday that it showed Cleo was at the campground prior to her disappearance.

    • Joseph Gamp

      Search for Cleo Smith: The latest

      • Cops have ruled out that a stalker may have planned her abduction after prowling the family's home for days.
      • Police earlier revealed that Cleo's voice was heard on CCTV at the campsite where she was staying when she vanished.
      • They are now looking for the driver of a car seen between 3am and 3.30am on the morning she disappeared from the campsite.
      • West Australian authorities have offered a $1million reward for information leading to Cleo’s location.

      Cleo Smith's stepdad breaks silence

      CLEO Smith's stepdad has broken his silence over the disappearance of the four-year-old.

      Little Cleo was reported missing in the early hours of the morning last Saturday after her parents could not find her at the campground where they were staying in Western Australia.

      The youngster's stepfather Jake Gliddon shared an image of Cleo’s missing poster to his Instagram story, the first time he has posted about her disappearance.

      And in a series of posts to her Instagram stories alongside images of Cleo, her mum Ellie Smith wrote: “We all need her home.”

      “Where are you baby,” she captioned another image.

      Read more here.

      $1million reward

      West Australian authorities have offered a $1million reward for information leading to Cleo’s location.

      Some time between 1.30am and 6am on Saturday October 16, police believe a person unzipped the large family tent and took a sleeping Cleo.

      It has been confirmed the zipper on the tent was found open to a height Cleo could not have reached, seemingly ruling out the possibility she wandered off on her own. Her red and black sleeping bag is also missing.

      The Blowholes campground site is an isolated spot, 30 minutes off the North West Coastal Highway with only one sealed road in and out for tourists, fishers and the handful of shack-dwellers who make their way there.

      Police have also appealed for any dashcam or CCTV footage recorded last weekend within a 1,000km radius of the Blowholes campsite but only as far south as Lancelin.

      ‘People out there that we want to speak to’

      Citing “credible sources” reporting the vehicle in the vicinity, Det Supt Wilde added that there were also other “people out there that we want to catch up with and to speak to”.

      Cleo was reported missing in the early hours of the morning last Saturday after her parents could not find her at the campground where they had been staying.

      Police have been urgently searching rugged terrain near the remote campsite for the young girl, and now believe she was abducted, saying “grave concerns are held for Cleo’s safety”.

      • Joseph Gamp

        Police appeal for dashcam footage and information

        On Friday police put a public call out for video and dashcam footage from anyone who had been within a 1000km radius of the campsite.

        They are especially interested in any vision taken from:

        • Motel check-ins and communal areas
        • Service stations
        • Truck stops and free camping areas
        • Fast food outlets and bakeries
        • Children’s clothing stores
        • Pharmacies and cosmetic stores
        • Camping stores

        Cleo’s mother feels ‘hopeless and out of control’

        “We realised we had to call the cops because she wasn’t here,” said Cleo’s mum Ellie.

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

        The mum says she feels “hopeless and out of control”, and added: “Everyone asks us what we need and all we need is our little girl home.

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

        Explained: What happened the night Cleo went missing?

        Cleo Smith was last seen in her family’s tent at about 1.30am on Saturday at the remote Blowholes Shacks campsite in coastal town Macleod, around 900km (559 miles) north of Perth.

        She was sharing a tent with her mother, her mother’s partner and her baby sister.

        When the family woke in at 6.30am the tent’s zip was undone and Cleo was missing, along with her sleeping bag.

        Witnesses at the campsite have reported hearing the skidding of tyres at around 3am.

        ‘There is still hope’ for Cleo

        The mother of a West Australian girl kidnapped and killed more than two decades ago has said “there is still hope” in Cleo’s disappearance.

        Margaret Dodd, whose daughter Hayley was abducted and killed by Francis John Wark in 1999, told 7 News she could “feel the pain” Cleo’s loved ones were going through.

        “It just brings it all back, because you know what you’ve gone through and you’re hoping that your little one will be found alive,” she said.

        “Everything has been thrown at looking for this little girl and that really makes me very happy. There is still hope.”

        Mapped: Places where Cleo Smith could have been taken

        Cleo may have been driven eight hours away from the campsite where she was last seen, cops suggested as they piece together her possible whereabouts.

        Another suggestion is that Cleo was taken to the town of Kalbarri – some five hours away.

        If this is the case she may have passed through the suburb of Meekatharra, which is 670km south-east.

        Police scouring hours of CCTV footage

        Cops are scouring through hours of CCTV footage from a roadhouse 165km north of the campsite as it's the only northbound road and records every vehicle that passes through.

        Police have not ruled out the possibility Cleo may have been taken across state borders.

        Detectives from the WA Police homicide squad as well as forensics and local detectives are investigating her disappearance.

        • Joseph Gamp

          Investigators have spoken with 20 sex offenders but none are suspects

          Investigators had spoken to up to 20 registered sex offenders in the Carnarvon area, but there were no suspects.

          “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,” Det Supt Rob Wilde said.

          He said authorities were keeping an open mind in relation to whether Cleo may have been taken by someone known to her.

          Cleo may have been driven eight hours away from the campsite where she was last seen, cops suggested as they piece together the her whereabouts.

          Another suggestion is that Cleo was taken to the town of Kalbarri – some five hours away – and may have passed through the suburb of Meekatharra, which is 670km south-east.

        • Joseph Gamp

          $1million reward

          West Australian authorities have offered a $1million reward for information leading to Cleo’s location.

          Some time between 1.30am and 6am on Saturday October 16, police believe a person unzipped the large family tent and took a sleeping Cleo.

          It has been confirmed the zipper on the tent was found open to a height Cleo could not have reached, seemingly ruling out the possibility she wandered off on her own. Her red and black sleeping bag is also missing.

          The Blowholes campground site is an isolated spot, 30 minutes off the North West Coastal Highway with only one sealed road in and out for tourists, fishers and the handful of shack-dwellers who make their way there.

          Police have also appealed for any dashcam or CCTV footage recorded last weekend within a 1,000km radius of the Blowholes campsite but only as far south as Lancelin.

        • Joseph Gamp

          No indication that family was stalked

          Det Supt Wilde, who is leading the taskforce investigating her disappearance, said the search was "not indicating they’ve [her family] been stalked, nothing like it.

          “In actual fact, if she has been taken, it’s more likely to have been a random event.

          “There is no indication and no evidence that anyone was being stalked.

          “We just want to reassure the community that we do not believe that is the case in this instance."

          He also explained that officers were carrying out standard searches outside her home to “cover off all bases”.

          He added: “It was predominantly to see if there had been any trespass or anything like that, but nothing of interest has come from that.

          “It’s just part of a thorough investigation and something that we will do in these cases.

          “It’s to gather information and eliminate certain aspects of an investigation.”

        • Joseph Gamp

          Police: 'People out there that we want to speak to'

          Citing "credible sources" reporting the vehicle in the vicinity, Det Supt Wilde added that there were also other "people out there that we want to catch up with and to speak to".

          Cleo was reported missing in the early hours of the morning last Saturday after her parents could not find her at the campground where they had been staying.

          Police have been urgently searching rugged terrain near the remote campsite for the young girl, and now believe she was abducted, saying "grave concerns are held for Cleo’s safety".

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