Cleo Smith’s family thanked the police and residents of their remote community in Western Australia for helping ‘bring their little girl back to them’.
In their first public statement, released Friday afternoon, Cleo’s mother Ellie Smith and stepfather Jake Gliddon said the family were “humbled by the love and support” they had received. of “not only our local community but all of Western Australia and across the country” in relation to their daughter’s alleged kidnapping.
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in rescuing our daughter Cleo Smith,” the statement said.
“In particular, we would like to thank the WA Police, everyone involved in the initial research, the Carnarvon community, local businesses and of course our family and friends.
The couple said they “are so grateful that our little girl is back in our arms and our family is whole again.”
“As we try to move on with our lives, we ask you to respect our privacy,” they said.
Police found Cleo alone in a house in the town of Carnarvon which they raided in the early hours of Wednesday morning, 18 days after the four-year-old girl disappeared from her family’s tent at a remote campsite on the coast. northwest of WASHINGTON.
Terence Darrell Kelly, the 36-year-old man who was arrested shortly after Cleo’s discovery, has been charged with kidnapping her.
Police found Cleo alive and well and playing with toys when they found her around 1 a.m. inside the Carnarvon estate, which was minutes from her family’s home in the south of town and 75 km from Blowholes campsite where she disappeared in October.
Kelly was airlifted from Carnarvon to a maximum security prison in Perth on Friday.
He appeared before a Carnarvon magistrate on Thursday for various offenses, including one count of forcible abduction of a child under the age of 16, and was remanded in custody before the case was referred to the court next month.
He was remanded in custody before the case went to court next month.
Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said Kelly would be subject to additional security measures “for obvious reasons”, having been hospitalized twice after self-injuring while in custody.
Senior investigator Superintendent Rod Wilde previously said police “will allege … that he acted only, alone.”
Since reuniting Cleo with her family, police have released an audio recording of when officers first entered the room in Carnarvon’s house where they found her. During the exchange, the agents asked her name and she replied “My name is Cleo”.
Police also released body camera footage of an officer showing the moment Cleo was taken out of the house with one of the officers present later describing the four-year-old as having been like “a little bunny Energizer “.
WA Premier Mark McGowan visited Cleo and his family in Carnarvon on Thursday. He gave the four-year-old two teddy bears named after the officers who saved her
“We had a few high fives. Unfortunately, I stepped on her new Barbie shoes and broke one. So I owe him a pair of shoes, ”McGowan said.
“It was a great experience meeting this little girl. She’s just bubbly, playful, friendly, sweet. She was eating a frozen post, she knocked it over all over the place. She told me it was very, very sticky, which I thought, and that she was just delicious, ”the Prime Minister said.
WA Police don’t expect anyone to claim the million dollar reward for information about Cleo’s whereabouts that was offered by the government – the biggest reward ever offered by the state. Cleo’s family lives in Carnarvon.