It’s the heartbreaking moment Cleo Smith’s best friend pleads for the “abducted child” to come home because “she needs to be with her family”.
Lenya “new” Forbes posed with a drawing made for her friend who disappearedHer family’s remote camp in Western Australia last Saturday morning.
Cleo’s mother, Ellie, says her daughter woke up at 1.30 a.m. Saturday morning to ask for a drink of water — and that was the last time she spoke to him.
Reports state that Ellie and partner Jake woke up again at around 6 a.m. to find that Cleo was gone.
Her pink pajamas and red sleeping bag were nowhere to be found with the girl.
“I still miss her,” little Naya told 7News. “And I understand that she is taken from the tent.
“I still miss her because she’s lost and I want her to come back.”
Police say they believe he was “picked up” from his tent while his parents were sleeping.
When asked why he needed to come home, Naya replied: “Because he needs to be with his family.”
On Thursday, Deputy Police Commissioner Colonel Blanche revealed that investigators were searching for the child’s remains.
He added: “Cleo disappeared from her family’s tent, despite an extensive land, sea and aerial search, we have yet to find her body.”
The law enforcement chief said if the little girl had come out of her tent herself, she would have been found by now.
Read our Cleo Smith blog for the latest updates in search
“This leads us to believe he was taken away,” said Mr. Blanche.
He later said the police were open-minded and would not comment further on whether it was possible that the girl was “buried in the area.”
Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde said the police “put great fear for his safety”.
West Australian Premier Mark McGowan said police are searching “round the clock” for the little girl, announcing a $1m reward for finding her.
This is the fastest time such a reward has been issued since the disappearance of an Australian citizen.
The family camp where Cleo was last seen is 47 miles from Carnarvon and 544 miles from Perth.
More than 100 police, soldiers, volunteers and local Aboriginal bush trackers are currently involved in “extensive land, sea and air searches”.
Members of the murder squad reportedly joined the search for the girl over the weekend.
Police suspect that Cleo was snatched and driven away eight hours before police arrived at the camp site on Saturday.
He added that the child “could be anywhere.”
Detectives acknowledge that known sex offenders were in the area at the time.
Mr Blanche said police were investigating “hundreds of crime stoppers reports” filed since Saturday morning.
He said: “The process of any investigation is a process of elimination.
“If we can prove that a person was not there, they are off the list.”
Police have questioned all registered sex offenders as well as nearby campers – with the investigation stalled, the report says.
Cleo’s biological father, Daniel Staines, has also been spoken to as per standard police procedure, but is not a suspect.
I miss you I love you. Please come home to me
Daniel lives more than 600 miles south of where his daughter was last seen.
The next step for the police is to try to locate the missing CCTV and dashcam footage from the area, in the hope that it may uncover clues.
Locals have been urged to check bins and streets for red sleeping bags the night Cleo went missing.
Cleo’s on-the-ground search ended today but the criminal investigation will now intensify with the arrival of criminal investigators.
And hours earlier, police removed barriers from the campsite where Cleo was kidnapped on Saturday.
Yesterday Detective Superintendent Wilde said: “We’ve got to the country looking for Cleo.
“Today’s announcement is to say that everyone needs to look for Cleo.
“Look at the people who have done odd jobs since October 16th (October), look at the people who have been in that area… ask questions.”
Ellie, a mother of two, made another heartbreaking statement yesterday – six days after her daughter went missing.
He said: “I miss you. I love you. Please come to my house.”
As the search progresses across the country, the family will stay at the campsite in the hope that Cleo will wander back.
Inspector John Munde said yesterday that a new piece of information suggests the child was abducted.
He told reporters that the child was so small that he himself could not reach the zipper to open the tent.
This debunks the theory that Cleo left the campsite alone in the early hours of the morning.
Munday said: “One of the major circumstances that caused alarm for Cleo’s safety is the fact that one of those zippered entryways was opened.
“The position of that zip to the flap is one of the circumstances that has caused us serious concern for the safety of Cleo.”
Munde confirmed that the police have not identified any suspects.
Her mother Ellie said the four-year-old could never run away on her own
She said: “She is lazy when it comes to walking. She will never leave that tent alone.”
Dr. Graham Hill, an ex-Scotland Yard detective who worked on the Madeleine McCann investigation, agrees that Cleo may have been kidnapped.
He told West Australian Children usually go missing for only two reasons: either they go astray or an accident occurs, or they are carried away.
Hill said: “Considering that she’s only a little girl, she’s not going that far.
four key clues
Police searching for the missing Cleo Smith face four crucial lines of questioning that suggest she may have been snatched.
Sleeping bag missing: Not only was Cleo missing when her parents woke up, but her red and black sleeping bag was also missing. Experts question whether she would have taken it with her if she simply wandered off on her own. Police released a photo of a similar bag with Cleo’s distinctive pink pajamas. He urged local residents to check their bins if evidence has been thrown inside.
Tent Zip “Too Much”: Inspector John Munday said the door to the family tent was zipped so high that it would have been impossible for a four-year-old to reach it. He continued: “The position of that zipper for the flap is one of the circumstances that has caused us serious concern for the safety of Cleo. Our forensic team has thoroughly examined that tent.”
“Screaming Car Tires”: Deputy Commissioner of Police Darryl Gaunt confirmed that police were investigating the camper’s report that Cleo’s mother had last seen him in the tent. “It’s a little unfounded, but we’re not ruling it out,” he said, adding that it was one of several reports from people who noticed strange movements and noises throughout the night.
The usual suspects: Police said ten to 20 sex offenders were known to be in the vicinity of the Blowholes campsite near Carnarvon, Western Australia. Detectives said they have spoken to all of them to investigate their activities, and no one is suspicious at this stage. He also admitted that any kidnapper could have left the area before being interrupted by the police.
“Little girls and boys get tired very quickly and at midnight they are half asleep anyway.
“The real complication, from what I can see, is that his sleeping bag has gone missing.
“I’d say there’s a remote chance that she got up and took her sleeping bag with her.”
Police said they were looking into reports that a car screaming was heard in the area around 3 a.m. Saturday, 90 minutes after Cleo was last seen.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Darryl Gaunt said: “It’s a little unfounded but we’re not ruling it out.”
He said this was one of several reports from people who noticed strange movements or noises during the night.
Gaunt said police “investigated and responded to most” of these reports and were able to explain “most of them”.
Speaking about the search earlier this week, mother Ellie said: “We’re going to find him — we have to.”
When asked if anyone would have taken her daughter, Ellie said one must know where she is.
“It’s been four days – they have to,” she said.