Cleo Smith: Mum issues Halloween plea for help finding daughter after Carnarvon disappearance


Cleo Smith vanished during a camping trip near Carnarvon in north-west Western Australia on October 16

Cleo Smith vanished during a camping trip near Carnarvon in north-west Western Australia on October 16

Cleo Smith’s mum has made another gut-wrenching plea for her four-year-old daughter to be returned home safely as she told of the heartbreak of spending Halloween without her daughter.

Ellie Smith on Sunday night called for help finding her ‘shining bright light’ – 16 days after the little girl vanished from her family’s tent near Carnarvon during a camping trip on October 16.

As children across Australia dressed up to go trick or treating, Ms Smith told how her daughter ‘loves dressing up – whether it be a princess or doctor’.

Cleo’s disappearance has sparked a national police operation – with detectives on Sunday door-knocking houses near her hometown as they search for clues. 

‘Every day is getting harder without my shining bright light,’ Ms Smith wrote on Instagram. 

‘Today she has missed Halloween with her family – her cousins, aunties, uncles, nannas and pop but most of all her parents and baby sister. 

‘She needs us and we need her.’ 

Ellie Smith pictured centre with her daughter Cleo left. In an Instagram post on Halloween, Ms Smith told how her daughter 'loves dressing up - whether it be a princess or doctor'

Ellie Smith pictured centre with her daughter Cleo left. In an Instagram post on Halloween, Ms Smith told how her daughter ‘loves dressing up – whether it be a princess or doctor’

Ellie Smith on Sunday called for help finding her 'shining bright light' and urged anyone who had any information to call police

Ellie Smith on Sunday called for help finding her ‘shining bright light’ and urged anyone who had any information to call police

The mother urged anyone who had seen someone acting suspicious or had information about her daughter’s disappearance to call police.

She ended the post by sharing the phone number for Crime Stoppers Australia – 1800 333 000. 

Ms Smith’s post came as a family-of-seven who were camping close to the tent Cleo vanished from broke their silence about their ‘scarred’ and heartbreaking stay at the site. 

Queensland couple Rob and Kira Prince were camping at the Blowholes at the time and have spoken of a trip they’ll never forget ‘for all the wrong reasons’.

The couple are travelling around the country in a campervan with their five children, which they’re documenting on the Our Aussie Adventure Facebook page.

The family uploaded photos of their time at Quobba Blow Holes and shared a police flyer regarding Cleo’s disappearance.

‘This camp was beautiful with both rugged cliff faces, with powerful waves and lagoon-like beaches and the blowholes were absolutely incredible,’ the family posted on Sunday.

The desperate search for missing youngster Cleo Smith (pictured) has entered its third week

The desperate search for missing youngster Cleo Smith (pictured) has entered its third week 

‘Unfortunately our stay here was scarred by the disappearance of Cleo Smith from a tent less than 100m from our site.

‘With four-year-olds of our own this was truly terrifying and heartbreaking. It is a day we will never forget – for all the wrong reasons.

‘While we physically moved on from here once the campground closed, emotionally we are very much still there longing for a positive outcome for Cleo and her family.’

The Prince family were camping less than 100m metres away from where little Cleo disappeared at the Blowholes campsite on October 16. Pictured are the family during their stay at the site

The Prince family were camping less than 100m metres away from where little Cleo disappeared at the Blowholes campsite on October 16. Pictured are the family during their stay at the site

Detectives spent Sunday door-knocking homes in the North Plantations, five kilometres from Cleo's hometown of Carnarvon

Detectives spent Sunday door-knocking homes in the North Plantations, five kilometres from Cleo’s hometown of Carnarvon

The family told The West Australian they’ve spoken to police ‘a number of times’.

Detectives door-knocked a number of homes along the North West Coastal Highway in the North Plantations, 5km from Cleo’s hometown, on Sunday.

The reason for the visits hasn’t been made public.

Cleo’s mother and stepfather Jake Gliddon have been ruled out by police of having have had any involvement in the girl’s disappearance.

The Prince family said their time camping at The Blowholes was 'scarred' by the disappearance of Cleo Smith from a tent less than 100 metres away

The Prince family said their time camping at The Blowholes was ‘scarred’ by the disappearance of Cleo Smith from a tent less than 100 metres away

Little Cleo Smith has been missing for two weeks, having last been seen at the Blowholes campground near Carnarvon in WA

Little Cleo Smith has been missing for two weeks, having last been seen at the Blowholes campground near Carnarvon in WA

Earlier on Sunday, the owner of a shack which captured the voice of Cleo on its CCTV system opened up about the ‘panicked’ moments after the little girl vanished. 

Dave Sadecky, handed over the crucial CCTV of little Cleo to police which placed her at the campsite on the night before she vanished.

The motion sensitive camera is installed inside their beach shack which was just 20 metres away from the family tent and takes a wide-angled photo of everyone who enters or leaves it.

The camera captures audio and images from inside a painted wooden box with a glass front and would not appear obvious to those passing by.

Dave Sadecky, who owns a nearby shack at the campsite, captured the voice of Cleo on his shack's CCTV system, and handed it over to police

Dave Sadecky, who owns a nearby shack at the campsite, captured the voice of Cleo on his shack’s CCTV system, and handed it over to police

When Mr Sadecky and his wife learnt of the news surrounding the four-year-old, they immediately jumped on their quad bikes to join the search. 

‘I didn’t know the ins and outs of what was going on but everyone was panicked,’ Mr Sadecky told The West Australian.

‘People dropped everything and came to help … they were everywhere on Saturday like ants — it’s not a normal sight.’

The couple ended up scouring the area for 10 hours on the day Cleo was last seen.

The four-year-old had woken up at 1.30am on the Saturday to ask her mother Ellie for a sip of water but when her parents woke again at about 6am, Cleo was gone

The four-year-old had woken up at 1.30am on the Saturday to ask her mother Ellie for a sip of water but when her parents woke again at about 6am, Cleo was gone

Detectives found the zip on the tent Cleo was sleeping in had been opened and was too high for the little girl to reach

Detectives found the zip on the tent Cleo was sleeping in had been opened and was too high for the little girl to reach

She had woken up at 1.30am on the Saturday to ask her mother Ellie for a sip of water but when her parents woke again at about 6am, Cleo was gone.

‘Everyone was emotional, people were clearly stressed and anxious but wanted to help. We’ve never had anything like this happen before. We’re there every other weekend, we’re kicking ourselves we weren’t there that night,’ Mr Sadecky said.

He said the campsite would now be ‘tainted’ from what happened, a local at Blowholes himself.

Timeline of events the day Cleo’s family realise she’s missing 

About 6am: Ellie Smith wakes up and realises Cleo and her sleeping bag are missing.

6.23am — Ellie calls 000 to report her eldest daughter missing as she continues to search the camp ground.

6.30am — The first two officers are dispatched from Carnarvon police station. They travel to Blowholes as a matter of priority, with sirens and lights.

6.41am — A second police car with another two officers is sent to Blowholes, also with lights and sirens.

7.10am — The first police car arrives. The second is only minutes behind. 

7.26am — Police on the scene establish a protected forensic area which is taped off to the public, surrounding the family tent where Cleo was last seen. 

7.33am — A drone operator is called upon to search from the skies.

7.44am — A third police car is dispatched to the Blowholes.

8am — Family and friends of Cleo’s parents begin to arrive to help with the ground search. 

Another group of detectives briefly searches Cleo’s home to make sure she’s not there. They then head to Blowholes and begin stopping cars coming into and leaving the area.  

8.09am — A helicopter from a local company arrived at the scene and started searching  as police request an SES team attend the Blowholes search. 

8.24am – Police airwing and volunteer marine searchers are called in to assist with the search.  

8.34am — Roadblocks are set up at the entrance of Blowholes as detectives gather the names, registration details and addresses of people coming and going. Police search cars. 

9.25am — Nine SES personel arrive at the Blowholes to assist with the search.

9.30am — Detectives sit down with a distressed Ellie and remain by her side for the rest of the day while other search crews hunt for Cleo. 

11am — Homicide detectives from the Major Crime Division are called and begin travelling from Perth to assist with the search.

1pm — More homicide detectives and search experts are flown in from Perth. 

3pm — Officers and search experts arrive in Carnarvon to offer their expertise.



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