Cleo Smith smiles from a hospital bed in Carnarvon, Australia. Reuters
Police smashed their way into a suburban house on Wednesday and rescued a 4-year-old girl whose disappearance from her family's camping tent on Australia's remote west coast more than two weeks ago both horrified and captivated the nation.
Police broke into a house in Carnarvon, a town about 100km (62 miles) south of the campsite, early on Wednesday morning and found Cleo Smith in one of the rooms.
Officials wept with relief after seeing body camera video of a police officer scooping up the girl, Cleo Smith, and hearing her say, "My name is Cleo.” A 36-year-old local man was arrested after the late-night raid at the house in the coastal town of Carnarvon, which followed a tip to police on Tuesday.
Cleo Smith’s mother Ellie Smith holds up a photo of her missing daughter outside Carnarvon, Australia. Reuters
"One of the officers picked her up into his arms and asked her 'what's your name?'. She said 'My name is Cleo'," Western Australia Police Deputy Commissioner Col Blanch said on local television. A man has been taken into custody in relation to the disappearance, he said.
Cleo was last seen in her family's tent at about 1:30am local time (1730 GMT) on Oct. 16 at the remote Blowholes Shacks campsite in Macleod, about 900 km (560 miles) north of Perth, the capital of Western Australia state. When her parents woke next morning, she was gone.
Cleo’s family lives in Carnarvon, a community of 5,000 people, and the girl had disappeared with her sleeping bag on the second day of a family camping trip at Blowholes Campground, 75 kilometres (47 miles) north of Carnarvon, on Oct. 16.
A massive land and sea search was initially mounted in the sparsely populated region on the assumption that she had wandered from the tent. But more evidence began to support an abduction.
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