Cleo Smith rescue: Audio of moment Western Australia police find little girl

New audio has been released of the emotional moment detectives found little Cleo Smith and rescued her from 18 days of hell.

Police smashed down the door of a home in Carnarvon, Western Australia, to free the toddler after she was snatched from her family’s tent at a campsite 75km away.

A massive manhunt eventually tracked her down to a house just 3km from her family’s home and around 12.46am on Wednesday, they broke into the locked home.

They found the four year old in a bedroom playing with toys, and immediately asked her name three times before she finally falteringly replied: ‘M-my name is Cleo.’

On Thursday, Western Australia Police released audio of the amazing moment detectives finally knew they had found her safe and well. 

The audio opens with the sound of the police smashing through the door as metal hits the ground before they spot Cleo and one officer says: ‘We got her.’ 

‘Hey Bubby ‘ said one as another says hello to the toddler before Detective Sergeant Cameron Blaine askes her name three times. 

Officers can be heard ordering a camera to be brought into the crime scene but only audio was released on Thursday to prevent any prejudice of a future trial.

Cleo is said to be in good spirits with her family after her dramatic ordeal as West Australian police prepare to lay charges against her alleged abductor. 

The little girl has returned home with her mother Ellie Smith, stepdad Jake Gliddon and baby sister Isla and is said to have been happy and playing.

A 36-year-old Carnarvon man is being questioned over the suspected abduction. He is expected to be charged later on Thursday.

Police have confirmed the man was twice taken to hospital after self-harming while in custody.

WA Premier Mark McGowan visits Cleo Smith and her parents on Thursday

Cleo's tepfather Jake Gliddon greets Western Australia Premier on Thursday

Cleo’s tepfather Jake Gliddon greets Western Australia Premier on Thursday

He has since returned to the local police station and is expected to face a magistrate in Carnarvon once charges are laid.

“It’ll probably be later today but there’s still some work that’s being undertaken, some interviews that are occurring,” Superintendent Rod Wilde told reporters in Carnarvon.

“I would imagine that those interviews will conclude today, possibly this afternoon.” 

The accused man was arrested on a nearby street around the same time.

Supt Wilde said police were yet to establish whether Cleo was kept at the property for the entire 18 days she was apart from her family.

Detective Blaine spent time with the family on Thursday and said the little girl appeared to be holding up well.

“I can only see her from the outside. But from that point of view, I’m amazed that she seems to be so well-adjusted and happy,” he said.

“It was really heartwarming to see that she’s still bubbly and she’s laughing.

“She’s falling asleep in her mother’s arms. There was one occasion where she asked if she could lay next to mum and have Ellie look at her while she fell asleep.

“It’s really good to see that she’s adjusted, she’s getting some sleep, she’s playing in the backyard exactly how you would expect.”

Premier Mark McGowan also met with the family, describing Cleo as a delightful little girl who spoke to him about her school and her dog.

“It was a lovely experience to meet her … she was a very bright, upbeat, sweet little girl,” he said.

“They’re decent, fundamentally honest people.”

Police have already confirmed the accused man has no connection to Cleo’s family and was not on a list of known sex offenders in Carnarvon.

He is alleged to have acted alone.

Authorities have been tight-lipped on the exact intelligence that led officers to Cleo’s location. They had been seeking the driver of a car that was seen leaving the Blowholes campsite around the time she was allegedly taken.

“That hasn’t been confirmed as yet,” Supt Wilde replied when asked whether the accused man had been identified as the driver.

“But certainly we would say that that car was significant and it was in the right timeframe.”

He said specialist child interviewers had been flown to Carnarvon and would meet with Cleo when the time was right.

“We’ll sit down with the family and work out the appropriate time,” he said.

Cleo was pictured smiling and waving from a hospital bed soon after reuniting with her mother and stepdad.

Her rescue has been welcomed around Australia and WA Police have been congratulated for their “old-fashioned police work” in tracking her down. 

More to follow