Cleo Smith: WA police search missing girl’s family home for signs of a stalker

The focus of the investigation into the disappearance of four-year-old Cleo Smith from a remote camping site in Western Australia shifted to her family house on Saturday.

Forensic officers spent the day scouring the outside of the missing child’s Carnarvon house for fingerprints in attempts to find any new evidence in the ongoing investigation.

Western Australian media reported police were looking for signs of a stalker.

A Western Australia police spokesperson told the Guardian that officers were focusing their investigation on the exterior of the house to see if any possible suspects had been lurking in the vicinity in the days leading up to her disappearance.

Cleo was reported missing in the early hours of the morning last Saturday after her parents could not find her at the Blowholes campground site where they had been camping.

Police have spent the last seven days searching the rugged terrain near the remote campsite for the young girl, and now believe she was abducted.

Some time between 1.30am and 6am police believe a person unzipped the large family tent and took a sleeping Cleo.

It has been confirmed the zipper on the tent was found open to a height Cleo could not have reached, seemingly ruling out the possibility she wandered off on her own. Her red and black sleeping bag is also missing.

The Blowholes campground site is an isolated spot, 30 minutes off the North West Coastal Highway with only one sealed road in and out for tourists, fishers and the handful of shack-dwellers who make their way there.

West Australian authorities have offered a $1m reward for information leading to Cleo’s location.

Police have also launched a fresh appeal for any dashcam or CCTV footage recorded last weekend within a 1,000km radius of the Blowholes campsite but only as far south as Lancelin.

Detectives are “particularly interested” in motel check-in and communal areas, service stations, fast food outlets and bakeries, truck stops and free camping areas, children’s clothing stores, pharmacies and cosmetic stores, and camping stores.

On Saturday, the WA premier, 마크 맥고완, urged those with any information on the case to come forward as a special taskforce set up to find the girl continued its investigation.

“There’s over a hundred police personnel on this case, plus volunteers, plus army reserves who are out there searching in the efforts to find Cleo,” McGowan said.

“I just urge anyone who has any knowledge of the location of Cleo, please provide that information to police and assure that we can provide some certainty and information to Cleo’s loved ones and hopefully bring Cleo back safe and sound.”

Investigators had spoken to up to 20 registered sex offenders in the Carnarvon area, but there were no suspects.

“Given the information now that we’ve gleaned from the scene, the fact that the search has gone on for this period of time and we haven’t been able to locate herit leads us to believe that she was taken from the tent,” Det Supt Rob Wilde said.

Wilde said authorities were keeping an open mind in relation to whether Cleo may have been taken by someone known to her.

Police have not ruled out the possibility Cleo may have been taken across state borders.

Additional reporting by Australian Associated Press.

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