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Cleo Smith: Police reveal why forensic officers were at family home for seven hours

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Police officers scoured the family home of missing four-year-old girl Cleo Smith for seven hours as part of a ‘routine practice’ to eliminate all possibilities, Western Australia’s top cop said. 

Forensic officers and detectives spent much of the day at the family’s home in Carnarvon, 900km north of Perth, on Tuesday and left with two bags of evidence although it’s unclear what was inside.

Acting WA Police Commissioner Col Blanch said the parents were not suspects in their daughter’s disappearance and the search of their home was ‘standard practice’ into the investigation.

‘We must do a thorough investigation,’ Mr Blanch told 6PR. 

‘The parents have been nothing but helpful. We’ve worked very closely with them, they’ve let us into their home, they’ve let us into their cars, their phones, everything. 

‘That is a normal part of an investigation and we must follow it thoroughly. 

Little Cleo Smith and her step father Jake Gliddon are pictured together

Little Cleo Smith and her step father Jake Gliddon are pictured together

A police officer loads up his car with bags of evidence on Tuesday evening

A police officer loads up his car with bags of evidence on Tuesday evening

Acting WA Police Commissioner Col Blanch said the parents were not suspects in their daughter's disappearance

Acting WA Police Commissioner Col Blanch said the parents were not suspects in their daughter’s disappearance

‘Our job is to eliminate everyone that was at that campsite, and that is a systematic and thorough approach in doing so in any investigation. And that really is the focus of the investigation at the moment.’ 

Mr Blanch said while they were keeping ‘open minded’ about Cleo’s disappearance, the ‘highest probability’ was that she had been abducted.

The four-year-old hasn’t been seen since the early hours of Saturday morning October 16 at the Blowholes campsite near Carnarvon.

Her heartbroken stepdad Jake Gliddon returned to the family home on Tuesday to allow police and detectives inside.

The four-year-old girl’s teary-eyed mother Ellie Smith told a TV interview on Monday that the couple had hardly been back to the house, finding it too agonising to return without their daughter. 

Although investigators had been to the home before, this was the first time they thoroughly searched inside with a forensics team. 

The heartbroken step father of Cleo Smith (pictured in a green singlet and sunglasses) has returned to the family's home for the first time since his little girl vanished from Blowholes campsite in Western Australia 11 days ago

The heartbroken step father of Cleo Smith (pictured in a green singlet and sunglasses) has returned to the family’s home for the first time since his little girl vanished from Blowholes campsite in Western Australia 11 days ago

Detectives are now looking into footage taken from a home on the North West Coastal Highway, near the Blowholes campsite, which reportedly shows a sedan travelling down the road at about 3am

Detectives are now looking into footage taken from a home on the North West Coastal Highway, near the Blowholes campsite, which reportedly shows a sedan travelling down the road at about 3am

On the previous occasion forensic officers combed the outside looking for signs of a stalker along the fence line and windows but ‘no evidence’ was uncovered and the theory discounted. 

The little girl in pink pyjamas was sleeping in a tent alongside her mother Ellie, stepfather and baby sister Isla on their first camping trip together.

She was last seen by her parents at 1.30am on Saturday when she woke up to ask for a drink of water.

But by 6.30am when her parents woke up, little Cleo along with her red and grey sleeping bag had vanished.

Police are now looking into CCTV of a car that was seen driving down a highway near the Blowholes campsite in the time window Cleo disappeared in.

With an extensive search of the area leaving no clues, detectives believe the four-year-old may have been taken. 

The footage was taken from a home on the North West Coastal Highway, which reportedly shows a sedan travelling down the road at about 3am.

Two people on their way to work had earlier told police they saw a car turning south off Blowholes Road at about 3am on the day Cleo vanished.

Police are now working to identify the driver and registration plates to determine whether or not the car seen in the footage is the same as the one in the reports, 7 News reported.  

A massive land, sea and air search has continued for almost two weeks but there is still no signs of the pre-schooler and detectives have no firm suspects.

To flush out information the WA government last week announced a $1million reward for any information that can lead to Cleo’s whereabouts. 

Immense scrutiny has followed Ms Smith and her partner Mr Gliddon since their nightmare ordeal began, with hoards of online sleuths and ‘amateur detectives’ pointing the finger at them.

The devastated couple vehemently on Monday night denied any involvement in Cleo’s disappearance and made a heartfelt plea to bring her home.

Ms Smith urged anyone with information on the missing toddler to call police because ‘we want our daughter back and she wants us’.

Wiping away tears, she also had a message for Cleo’s abductor: ‘Just give her back to us,’ she said on Channel Seven’s Flashpoint program.

Ms Smith on Tuesday said she was overwhelmed by the generosity of Australians who donated to a Gofundme page set up by a family friend. 



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