- BBC News World
Australian authorities are offering a reward of AU $ 1 million (US $ 750,000) for information on the whereabouts of a 4-year-old girl who they fear has been abducted from a remote camp in the country.
Cleo Smith was last seen sleeping in her family’s tent at Quobba Blowholes seaside camp in Western Australia state early Saturday morning.
Her mother said she discovered that the store was open and that the girl was missing, along with her sleeping bag.
Police said they had initially focused their search on a row of tents near the coast and that bad weather had hampered their efforts. Now they are looking for the minor by air and by sea.
“We fear very much for your safety”
“Someone in our community knows what happened to Cleo,” Western Australian Police Commissioner Col Blanch said Thursday at a news conference.
“Someone has the knowledge that can help us, and now there are a million reasons why they should come forward,” he said.
Blanch said police were “looking for clues” based on information they had already received.
Investigators rule out Cleo leaving the area on her own because the tent’s zipper was unzipped to a point higher than she could have reached.
“We are hopeful of finding Cleo alive, but we are very fearful for her safety,” Detective Rod Wilde said.
“Given the information we have obtained from the scene, the fact that the search continued during this period of time … leads us to believe that she was removed from the store,” he added.
Cleo’s mother, Ellie Smith, described the days since her daughter’s disappearance as “horrendous.” “We really haven’t slept,” he said at an emotional press conference on Tuesday.
“Everyone asks us what we need and all we need is our little girl at home … The worst thing is that we can’t do anything else. She is out of our hands, so we feel desperate and out of control,” the woman also said. woman.
Cleo’s family traveled to Camp Quobba Blowhole, about 900 km north of the city of Perth, over the weekend.
Quobba Blowholeis a local attraction on the state’s Coral Coast from Western Australia, known for their sea caves and lagoons.
Smith said that he had put Cleo to sleep after dinner Friday night, and that he had seen her again at 1:30 on Saturday when he woke up asking for water.
Cleo was sleeping on an air mattress next to her younger sister’s crib, in a separate room in the family’s tent, Smith said.
At six in the morning, when he went to give his youngest daughter a bottle, he saw the store open and Cleo was gone, he added.
“We went looking to see if it was around the store,” Smith said.
“Then we got in the car and started driving everywhere … We realized that we had to call the police because she was not here,” he said.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.