News, Culture & Society

Cleo Smith: Shack owner who had CCTV of missing child opens up about ‘panicked’ search

The owner of a shack which captured the voice of missing Cleo Smith on its CCTV system has opened up about the ‘panicked’ moments after the little girl vanished.

The four-year-old disappeared from her family’s tent at the Blowholes campsite, near Carnarvon in Western Australia in the early hours of October 16.

In the two weeks since Cleo disappeared, no trace has been found with a $1million reward on offer for anyone who has information into her whereabouts.

Dave Sadecky and his wife, who own the shack, handed over the crucial footage of little Cleo to police which placed her at the campsite on the night before she vanished.

The CCTV motion sensitive camera is installed inside their beach shack which was just 20 metres away from the family tent and takes a wide-angled photo of everyone who enters or leaves it.

Little Cleo Smith has been missing for two weeks, having last been seen at the Blowholes campground near Carnarvon in WA

The camera captures audio and images from inside a painted wooden box with a glass front and would not appear obvious to those passing by.

When Mr Sadecky and his wife learnt of the news surrounding the four-year-old, they immediately jumped on their quad bikes to join the search. 

‘I didn’t know the ins and outs of what was going on but everyone was panicked,’ Mr Sadecky told The West Australian.

‘People dropped everything and came to help … they were everywhere on Saturday like ants — it’s not a normal sight.’

The couple ended up scouring the area for ten hours on the day Cleo was last seen.

She had woken up at 1.30am on the Saturday to ask her mother Ellie for a sip of water but when her parents woke again at about 6am, Cleo was gone.

The four-year-old had woken up at 1.30am on the Saturday to ask her mother Ellie for a sip of water but when her parents woke again at about 6am, Cleo was gone

The four-year-old had woken up at 1.30am on the Saturday to ask her mother Ellie for a sip of water but when her parents woke again at about 6am, Cleo was gone

Dave Sadecky who owns a nearby shack at the campsite captured the voice of Cleo on his shack's CCTV system, and handed it over to police

Dave Sadecky who owns a nearby shack at the campsite captured the voice of Cleo on his shack’s CCTV system, and handed it over to police

Detectives found the zip on the tent Cleo was sleeping in had been opened and was too high for the little girl to reach

Detectives found the zip on the tent Cleo was sleeping in had been opened and was too high for the little girl to reach

‘Everyone was emotional, people were clearly stressed and anxious but wanted to help. We’ve never had anything like this happen before. We’re there every other weekend, we’re kicking ourselves we weren’t there that night,’ Mr Sadecky said.

He said the campsite would now be ‘tainted’ from what happened, a local at Blowholes himself.

He added there was a tight-knit community in the area and that often people would leave their doors unlocked.

Meanwhile, a close family friend of Cleo’s mother Ellie Smith and stepdad Jake Gliddon have said detectives are not wanting to give them any ‘false hope’.

‘There’s nothing worse than saying, ”We’re going to find her”, or, ”We think we’ve got the person”, and then they don’t have the person or they don’t find her,’ the friend told the West.

Cleo is seen with her mother Ellie Smith. A $1million reward is on offer to anybody with information into her disappearance

Cleo is seen with her mother Ellie Smith. A $1million reward is on offer to anybody with information into her disappearance

‘Police aren’t going to give you false hope and that’s what we said from day one.’

The family friend had been at the campsite at the time Cleo went missing and helped scour the area in search of the four-year-old.

He said her distraught parents have also had to deal with online trolls who pointed the finger at them in the days following their daughter’s disappearance.

Police have ruled out both Ms Smith and Mr Gliddon as suspects and Daily Mail Australia is not suggesting they had anything to do with her disappearance.

‘I know it’s affecting them. Fingers crossed they aren’t looking at it too much,’ the friend said. 

It comes after it was revealed detectives in the 100-strong taskforce had responded to 200 potential sightings of Cleo in the two weeks since she disappeared.

It comes after it was revealed detectives in the 100-strong taskforce had responded to 200 potential sightings of Cleo in the two weeks since she disappeared.

It comes after it was revealed detectives in the 100-strong taskforce had responded to 200 potential sightings of Cleo in the two weeks since she disappeared.  

‘Unfortunately all of those have proved unfruitful,’ Detective Superintendent Rob Wilde said.

‘That’s been national as well, other policing jurisdictions have helped us and followed those leads through for us, so we’re very grateful for that.’ 

While none of the leads have been accurate yet, he is still calling on the public to continue searching for Cleo and reporting any potentially useful information. 

Timeline of events the day Cleo’s family realise she’s missing 

About 6am: Ellie Smith wakes up and realises Cleo and her sleeping bag are missing.

6.23am — Ellie calls 000 to report her eldest daughter missing as she continues to search the camp ground.

6.30am — The first two officers are dispatched from Carnarvon police station. They travel to Blowholes as a matter of priority, with sirens and lights.

6.41am — A second police car with another two officers is sent to Blowholes, also with lights and sirens.

7.10am — The first police car arrives. The second is only minutes behind. 

7.26am — Police on the scene establish a protected forensic area which is taped off to the public, surrounding the family tent where Cleo was last seen. 

7.33am — A drone operator is called upon to search from the skies.

7.44am — A third police car is dispatched to the Blowholes.

8am — Family and friends of Cleo’s parents begin to arrive to help with the ground search. 

Another group of detectives briefly searches Cleo’s home to make sure she’s not there. They then head to Blowholes and begin stopping cars coming into and leaving the area.  

8.09am — A helicopter from a local company arrived at the scene and started searching  as police request an SES team attend the Blowholes search. 

8.24am – Police airwing and volunteer marine searchers are called in to assist with the search.  

8.34am — Roadblocks are set up at the entrance of Blowholes as detectives gather the names, registration details and addresses of people coming and going. Police search cars. 

9.25am — Nine SES personel arrive at the Blowholes to assist with the search.

9.30am — Detectives sit down with a distressed Ellie and remain by her side for the rest of the day while other search crews hunt for Cleo. 

11am — Homicide detectives from the Major Crime Division are called and begin travelling from Perth to assist with the search.

1pm — More homicide detectives and search experts are flown in from Perth. 

3pm — Officers and search experts arrive in Carnarvon to offer their expertise.

***
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk