Cleo Smith 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 has 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.
‘There is nothing to suggest anything suspicious occurred in that moment,’ a police source said.
Cleo Smith 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 (pictured with her mum Ellie and partner Jake Gliddon) about 1.30am on Saturday – sparking intense public scrutiny that something sinister occurred
A land search was suspended on Tuesday due to wild winds and an intense storm
Social media sleuths seized on the detective’s turn of phrase, suspecting something more dramatic had taken place.
Within some circles, the word had even been twisted and there were false reports the officer referenced an ‘altercation’.
‘It was just a word,’ the source said. ‘Nothing out of the ordinary took place.’
Little Cleo had been sleeping soundly up until that point and both she and her baby sister Isla were in the tent when her parents went to bed.
They woke at 6am and discovered Cleo was missing. The red and grey sleeping bag she’d been tucked into was also gone.
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
Cleo’s mother Ellie Smith and her partner Jake Gliddon immediately alerted all other campers in the vicinity.
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 Cleo since her parents’ final brief exchange with her at 1.30am.
Police have not ruled out any theories relating to her disappearance – including the possibility that she was abducted.
Officers have grave concerns for the four-year-old and ‘everything is on the table’ in the unusual and disturbing case.
They are considering the possibility that if she was kidnapped, Cleo could already have been moved interstate.
Inspector Jon Munday said Cleo could ‘potentially be anywhere now’ given it’s been three days 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,” he 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)
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
‘We’re keen to get this messaging out nationally to anybody. She could be anywhere by now which is really concerning.’
Mr Munday vowed to continue ‘throwing everything at this’ for as long as it takes to bring Cleo home.
The inspector has been leading the search and repeatedly fronted the media to provide an update on Cleo’s disappearance and the search efforts.
He sparked furore on Sunday when he said: ‘The parents did have an interaction with Cleo in the early hours of the morning’ during a live press conference.
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)
Police say they have grave concerns for the child (pictured) and that ‘everything is on the table’ in the unusual and disturbing case
It has been confirmed that detectives have seized CCTV footages from roadhouses in the area as part of their investigation.
Cleo 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.
A major storm cell has hit the region and is expected to last well into the night.
The wild weather has forced emergency services to suspend the search as it entered a fourth day.
A strong cold front, heavy winds and rain brought more treacherous search conditions for volunteers – including local Indigenous bush trackers who have been assisting with the search
A strong cold front, heavy winds and rain brought about treacherous search conditions for volunteers – including local Indigenous bush trackers who have been assisting with the search.
‘Every hour that goes by with a four-year-old out in this environment, there’s obviously limited water supply, it is warm, very limited shelter,’ Mr Munday said.
‘It is very, very concerning.’
By 10am Tuesday morning, locals can expect winds of up to 70km/h so fierce that it is likely homes and property will be damaged.
By nightfall, gusts could top 100km/h along the coast. Higher than usual tides and damaging surf conditions are also predicted.
The area is known to be subject to intense weather conditions, with frequent king tides up to 10 times bigger than the waves before them that come without warning.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police immediately on 131 444.