Cleo Smith: WA police question 100 campers, 200 suspected sightings
The lead investigator in Cleo Smith’s search revealed that more than 100 campers near where she disappeared were interviewed.
Police in Western Australia have questioned more than 100 campers near where Cleo Smith was allegedly abducted.
Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde said he was confident they would find out what had happened to the four-year-old as he urged other campers along that part of the coast to contact police.
“We tracked down over 100 people who were there that night and we spoke and interviewed those people. There may still be people who were near the location of the vents and we would ask to come forward, ”he told reporters.
“It’s a large area and people may have camped in different areas of this particular part of the coast.
“The investigation is progressing, we are optimistic, very optimistic and confident that we will resolve it.”
Superintendent Wilde said those interviewed were not suspects.
He said more than 200 possible sightings of Cleo had been reported to police since her disappearance almost two weeks ago, but all were found to be “unsuccessful.”
“Over 200 possible sightings we tracked and it didn’t turn out to be Cleo,” Superintendent Wilde said.
“I want to thank the public for calling this information and it has been national as well – so there has been some in other states.
“Other police jurisdictions have helped us and have been there and followed these leads for us. We are very grateful for that.
Police suspect Cleo was abducted from the family tent at Blowholes Campground in Macleod, near Carnarvon, in upstate Washington, on October 16. A million dollar reward was offered for information to help her find her.
Earlier this week, the Prime Minister revealed that the Australian Federal Police were using “very advanced capabilities” which were “state of the art”. It has since been reported by 7 News that it was a reconnaissance spy plane.
WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson was asked about the matter at a press conference Thursday, with a reporter questioning the use of a plane almost two weeks after Cleo’s disappearance.
“Obviously this is a great police operation, and in any operation of this magnitude we are reaching out to police forces not only across Australia but also around the world,” said Mr. Dawson.
“AFP will, like others, help us with whatever it can. We will accept any opportunity to expand any capacity.
Mr Dawson said he would not go into details of AFP’s specific involvement.
“We welcome any help from any police force in the world,” he said.
When asked again directly if it was a “spy plane or something,” Mr Dawson replied: “I won’t go into specifics.”
AFP declined to comment when NCA NewsWire asked about it.
Home Secretary Karen Andrews told the Federal Parliament on Wednesday that AFP and federal agencies are supporting the work of the WA Police Force.
“Our hearts go out to the family and I can assure them that the advanced capabilities of federal law enforcement are being deployed to assist local efforts in locating Cleo,” she said.
“Australians can be confident that we will continue to equip our law enforcement and intelligence services with the tools and resources they need to tackle this very serious crime, especially crimes against children.”
Police returned to the campsite late Wednesday to collect ash samples from old campfires.
Officers also spent Thursday morning in the Carnarvon Light Industrial Zone obtaining CCTV footage of businesses.
This follows a report by two people who said they saw a car turn right onto Blowholes Rd on the Northwest Coast Road, towards Carnarvon, between 3:00 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. on the day Cleo went missing.
Police are looking for CCTV and dashcam footage of people since Cleo’s disappearance.
When Superintendent Wilde landed in Carnarvon Thursday morning and was asked if the matter could be resolved, he said: “We are really confident.”
Cleo’s mother Ellie Smith and stepfather Jake Gliddon have vehemently denied any involvement in the girl’s disappearance.
“No way – we love our daughter and want her to be home,” Ms. Smith told Seven’s Flashpoint this week.
“There is no way that I or Jake could have done anything to hurt our daughter.
“She was taken from our family, from a place where she was supposed to feel safe.”
Police also said the couple were not suspects, nor was Cleo’s father.
Forensic scientists searched the family home three times and gathered evidence in bags.
Police said the family had been helpful throughout the investigation and understood this to be common practice.
In a new Instagram post on Thursday, Ms Smith wrote: ‘If you know anything, call the police! We want our baby to be home.
Ms Smith also posted a missing poster promoting the state government’s $ 1 million award for information.
Bounty hunters are said to have joined Cleo’s search in an attempt to obtain the reward, prompting a police warning to keep people safe.
“I think people – whether it’s for the money or just to do the right thing and help find Cleo – people are trying to find out what happened,” the police commissioner said on Wednesday by interim, Col Blanch.
“There is still a lot of ground to cover. I’m just asking that people don’t put themselves in danger by doing this.
A GoFundMe page to support research efforts and Cleo’s family has raised over $ 83,000.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers.