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Man Charged Over Abduction Of Cleo Smith In Australia

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Man Charged Over Abduction Of Cleo Smith In Australia

A man has been charged over the disappearance of four-year-old Cleo Smith.

She was found in a house in Carnarvon, Western Australia, on Tuesday (2 November), 18 days after going missing.

The house was about 70km away from the Quobba Blowholes campground, in Macleod, where she went missing.

Credit: Western Australia Police
Credit: Western Australia Police
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Terence Darrell Kelly was arrested in a nearby street around the same time, police said.

The 36-year-old raised suspicion among locals when he was seen buying nappies and was known to have no children.

He appeared in court in Carnarvon, charged with forcibly or fraudulently taking or enticing a child under 16.

Authorities said he had no connection with the Smith family.

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Following Cleo's rescue, Deputy Commissioner Col Blanch said in a statement: "It's my privilege to announce that in the early hours of this morning, the Western Australia Police Force rescued Cleo Smith.

"Cleo is alive and well. A Police team broke their way into a locked house in Carnarvon about 1am. They found little Cleo in one of the rooms.

"One of the officers picked her up into his arms and asked her 'what's your name?' The girl replied 'Cleo Smith'.

"This is the outcome we all hoped and prayed for. It's the outcome we've achieved because of some incredible police work."

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Credit: Supplied
Credit: Supplied

Officers visited the Smith family home today (Thursday 4 October) to gather eyewitness evidence.

"I can only see her on the outside, but from that point of view, I'm amazed that she seems to be so well-adjusted and happy, and it was really... heartwarming to see that she's still bubbly and she's laughing," Detective Senior Sergeant Cameron Blaine said.

"I'm sure that it has had an impact, but just to see her behaving quite naturally like a four-year-old girl should do and just enjoying being in the presence of her little sister and her family was good."

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Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde, who heads the police investigation, said specialist child interviewers had travelled to Carnarvon from the state capital Perth, 560 miles to the south.

"The main concern around that is Cleo's welfare," Wilde said of the interview.

"We have experienced people that will undertake that and it'll take as long as it takes. We'll sit down with the family and work out the appropriate time."

Featured Image Credit: Supplied

Topics: World News, crime, Australia

Jake Massey
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