Australian girl Cleo Smith, 4, rescued in 'miracle' 18 days after being snatched from tent

3 November 2021, 07:44 | Updated: 3 November 2021, 11:09

By Emma Soteriou

A four-year-old girl who went missing Western Australia has been found "alive and well" 18 days after being snatched as she slept on a campsite with her family.

Cleo Smith was found by police in a house in Carnarvon around 560 miles away from where she vanished.

She was last seen around 1.30am on Saturday 16 October in a tent at the Blowholes campsite in Macleod, just over 600 miles north of Perth, before being discovered on Tuesday.

Cleo Smith was discovered locked inside a house.
Cleo Smith was discovered locked inside a house. Picture: Western Australia Police

Police forced their way into a locked house in Carnarvon, around 47 miles away from where Cleo went missing after receiving a 'really important' tip-off about a car.

Officers were reduced to tears after they found the little girl alive and well in one of the rooms at around 1am.

Police have arrested a 36-year-old man, who they have not yet named or charged, in connection with her disappearance.

He was taken to hospital with a bandage around his head in the early hours, after apparently being targeted by other inmates when taken into custody.

Western Australia Police shared a photo of Cleo smiling from a hospital bed after she was found, along with the caption: "The miracle we all hoped for".

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A statement from Western Australia Police Force's Deputy Commissioner Col Blanch said: "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?’

"She said - ‘My name is Cleo’.

Cleo Smith was discovered locked inside a house.
Cleo Smith was discovered locked inside a house. Picture: Western Australia Police

"Cleo was reunited with her parents a short time later.

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

"I want to thank Cleo’s parents, the Western Australian community and the many volunteers. And of course, I want to thank my colleagues in the Western Australia Police Force.

"I can confirm we have a man from Carnarvon in custody who is currently being questioned by detectives.

"We’ll have more to say on the rescue of Cleo as the day unfolds."