November 22, 2021
Man, 36, charged with abducting Cleo Smith after girl, 4, rescued from locked house
Western Australia Police said they had charged a Carnarvon man “with various offences” relating to the abduction of Cleo Smith after she was found on Wednesday
A 36-year-old man has been charged over the abduction of Cleo Smith who went missing for over two weeks before being found in a locked house in Australia.
Western Australia Police said they had charged a Carnarvon man “with various offences” relating to the abduction.
Terence Darrell Kelly was taken into custody shortly after Cleo was found in a property early on Wednesday.
Police said in a statement: “The charges include one count of forcibly take a child under 16 (sic).”
“Given this matter is now before the court, police are unable to make any further comment on the charges at this stage,” the force said.
Kelly did not apply for bail and was not required to enter a plea when he appeared in Carnarvon Magistrate’s Court today, local reports said.
He was remanded in custody until December 6.
ABC News reported that Kelly did not show much emotion except for seeming agitated with the presence of two of their journalists.
The man was twice taken to hospital for self-inflicted injuries after his arrest.
He was earlier pictured in an ambulance with his head in bandages.
He reportedly suffered head injuries while he was in a holding cell and was taken to hospital by police.
Cleo went missing from an outback campsite 18 days before she was found safe in a locked house.
The young girl had last been seen in her family’s tent in the early hours of October 16 at the remote Blowholes Shacks campsite in Macleod, triggering an extensive search by land and aerial crews, along with roadblocks and CCTV footage.
She was found safe on Wednesday when police broke into a house in Carnarvon, a town about 100 km (62 miles) south of the campsite on the far northwest coast of the state.
The house is just 3 km (2 miles) from her family home, Australian media said.
On Thursday, police released an audio recording of their entry into the house and the discovery of the girl in a room.
“We’ve got her. We’ve got her,” an officer could be heard saying.
After being asked her name a few times, the toddler answered, “My name is Cleo”.
She had been playing with dolls with the light on at the time, police said.
After meeting her family, state Premier Mark McGowan said Cleo was a “very bright, upbeat, sweet little girl” and looked “very well adjusted”, considering her ordeal.
Specialist child interviewers would speak with her, and authorities had instructed her parents on how to talk to her to preserve her memory, authorities said.
The hashtag CleoSmith has been trending on Twitter since Wednesday, with a picture posted by police that showed a smiling Cleo waving from her hospital bed drawing nearly 54,000 “likes”.
Purple and pink balloons adorned the streets and many landmarks in Perth, the capital of Western Australia, were lit up in blue on Wednesday night to thank police for their efforts.