/ 22 October 2021

A bold move to find Cleo

Image source: WA Police
Image source: WA Police

The Western Australian Government is offering a $1 million reward to anyone who has information that will help authorities find 4yo Cleo Smith. It’s the equal biggest reward offered in the state’s history, and the 4th time such a reward has been offered to solve a murder or disappearance. “We want to ensure police have everything they need to solve this case,” Premier Mark McGowan said.

Police believe Cleo was abducted from a tent in a campsite north of Carnarvon in the early hours of Saturday morning. There are “grave concerns” for her safety as the extensive search concluded its 6th day, but Acting Police Commissioner Col Blanch said they hope to find her alive with 100 officers assigned to the case. Authorities are confident that the search of the campsite and surrounds would have found her if she had wandered off, and so their attention is on suspicious activity at the time of her disappearance. But there are no suspects, and no one is being questioned about Cleo’s disappearance as things currently stand. Blanch yesterday said that the case “strikes at the heart of West Australians, and I am here to reassure the community that everything that can be done is being done.”

Rarely. According to the Daniel Morcombe Foundation, abduction is one of the least common ways for children or young people to go missing. Looking at adults and children, fewer than 1% of Australia’s 38,000 annual missing person reports are related to abduction. When it does happen, it’s a family member or someone known to the victim who is responsible more than half the time. And when a child goes missing, they are usually returned within 48 hours. There are, of course, elevated concerns about young kids because they are considered to be particularly vulnerable. In Cleo’s case, she has been missing for much longer than 48 hours. That’s why police say that the case is growing more urgent with every passing hour.

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