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Cleo Smith’s stepfather breaks his silence nine days after little girl went missing from their tent

The devastated stepfather of missing four-year-old Cleo Smith has finally broken his silence nine days after the little girl mysteriously vanished from the family tent. 

Jake Gliddon shared an image of the missing poster to his Instagram on Monday nearly a week after he and Cleo’s mother fronted the media for the first time. 

The heartbroken couple begged the public to report anything ‘big or small’ that could help bring the little girl home, as an exhaustive search of the area continues. 

The missing poster offers a $1million reward to anyone with information which leads to Cleo’s return, or the arrest and conviction of those responsible for taking her. 

WA Police have said the audio of the little girl has helped place Cleo (pictured) at the campground on the day before she went missing

It comes just hours after Ellie Smith shared an adorable new photo of the four-year-old in another desperate plea for answers as eerie CCTV footage captures the little girl’s voice the day before she vanished. 

The audio was recorded by a CCTV camera installed inside a beach shack just 20 metres from the family tent Cleo mysteriously disappeared from last Saturday. 

WA Police have confirmed the voice of the missing four-year-old can be heard on the motion-sensitive camera, which also takes a wide-angle photo of anyone who enters or leaves the shack.   

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 the shack. 

Officers have scrutinised copies of the CCTV footage and said on Sunday the new evidence helped place Cleo at the campground on the day before she went missing.

The development is also significant because it rules out any suspicions the child was never brought to the camping ground by her parents.

Missing girl Cleo Smith's voice was recorded on this CCTV camera the day before she vanished from her family tent at the Blowholes Campground

Missing girl Cleo Smith’s voice was recorded on this CCTV camera the day before she vanished from her family tent at the Blowholes Campground

‘It was just after they arrived, it’s motion-sensitive so it was by [their vehicle],’ Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde said.

‘It’s very limited… we’ve reviewed that and we believe it’s Cleo’s voice that’s heard on the CCTV.’ 

Cleo Smith vanished from a tent at a camping site near Carnarvon on the northwest coast of Western Australia during the early hours of October 16 with police believing the youngster was abducted – rather than wandering away by herself.

Her devastated mother Ellie Smith continues to post fresh appeals for information to her Instagram page, most recently sharing a sweet photo of her two daughters. 

Four-year-old Cleo is seen giving her baby sister Isla Mae a kiss on the forehead in the photo with the caption: ‘We all need her home’. 

She posted another heartbreaking photo of Cleo enjoying a day at the beach and questioned: ‘Where are you baby’ followed by another shot of her two daughters describing the little girl as the ‘best big sister ever’. 

Cleo's devastated mother Ellie Smith continues to post fresh appeals for information on her Instagram (pictured) as detectives continue to scour the campground for clues

Cleo’s devastated mother Ellie Smith continues to post fresh appeals for information on her Instagram (pictured) as detectives continue to scour the campground for clues

Cleo's mother described her as the 'best big sister ever' to her other daughter Isla Mae (right)

Cleo’s mother described her as the ‘best big sister ever’ to her other daughter Isla Mae (right)

new witnesses told police they saw a car and heard screeching tyres at the Blowholes Campsite, 50km north of Canarvon, where Cleo (left) vanished

new witnesses told police they saw a car and heard screeching tyres at the Blowholes Campsite, 50km north of Canarvon, where Cleo (left) vanished

It comes after new witnesses told police they saw a car and heard screeching tyres at the Blowholes Campsite, 50km north of Canarvon, where Cleo vanished. 

Superintendent Wilde said the car was seen about 3am on October 16 when Cleo went missing.

The car was turning south off Blowholes Road, near the area Cleo’s family was camping, and headed for Carnarvon. 

The timing of the car sighting coincides with evidence from other campers that they heard the the sound of screeching tyres rapidly leaving the campsite about 3am.

Superintendent Wilde said the evidence was ‘credible’ and the witnesses only came forward after learning of the possible abduction of the child, having not thought their sighting of the car was significant at the time.

‘Obviously at that time when the people observed it, it wasn’t anything of great significance. They just came forward after hearing about Cleo and the news and realised the significance he said. 

‘Fortunately, they’ve come forward and passed that on to us so we are keen to speak to the person who was driving and anyone who was in that vehicle to speak to us.’

Police believe Cleo was taken from her family tent at the Blowholes Campsite on WA's northwest coast during the early hours of Saturday, October 16 (pictured, search teams)

Police believe Cleo was taken from her family tent at the Blowholes Campsite on WA’s northwest coast during the early hours of Saturday, October 16 (pictured, search teams)

It comes after new witnesses told police they saw a car and heard screeching tyres at the Blowholes Campsite, 50km north of Canarvon, where Cleo vanished (pictured)

It comes after new witnesses told police they saw a car and heard screeching tyres at the Blowholes Campsite, 50km north of Canarvon, where Cleo vanished (pictured)

The new witnesses were travelling north on the North West Coastal Highway on their way to work when they spotted the mysterious vehicle leaving the camping ground.

Unfortunately, they were unable to give a description of the car or how many people were inside as it was too dark.

‘We want the person or persons who were in that vehicle to come forward and contact police,’ Superintendent Wilde said. 

‘We want to know who they were and what they were doing.

‘The time is not exact but we believe it to have been between 3am and 3.30am. We believe it was a passenger vehicle, not a truck.’

Supt Wilde has stressed the driver is not considered a suspect.  

Cleo's mother Ellie (left) and her partner Jake Gliddon (left) have remained close to the campsite throughout the extensive sea, land and air search for little Cleo

Cleo’s mother Ellie (left) and her partner Jake Gliddon (left) have remained close to the campsite throughout the extensive sea, land and air search for little Cleo

Premier Mark McGowan on Thursday announced a $1million reward would be offered to anyone with information which leads to Cleo coming home or the arrest and conviction of those responsible for taking her (pictured, Cleo's missing child poster)

Premier Mark McGowan on Thursday announced a $1million reward would be offered to anyone with information which leads to Cleo coming home or the arrest and conviction of those responsible for taking her (pictured, Cleo’s missing child poster)

Police are still unsure whether the little girl (pictured, left) was taken by a lone offender or one with an accomplice, as extra detectives travel from Perth to join search efforts

Police are still unsure whether the little girl (pictured, left) was taken by a lone offender or one with an accomplice, as extra detectives travel from Perth to join search efforts

Meanwhile, while it was originally thought the little girl had simply wandered off towards the ocean or the rugged scrublands nearby, detectives are now convinced Cleo was abducted by a brazen child predator.  

The leading theory is that she was snatched while sleeping beside her mother Ellie Smith and step father Jake Gliddon in a tent at the remote camping site. 

Her parents woke up to find her missing along with her adult-sized red and grey sleeping bag, suggesting she may have been carried out and loaded into a vehicle in the dead of night.  

Police are still unsure whether the little girl was taken by a lone offender or one with an accomplice, as extra detectives travel from Perth to join search efforts.

Superintendent Wilde said the family didn’t see anything suspicious when they arrived at the campsite and said there was no evidence Cleo had been inside the beach shacks a short distance from the campground.  

Detectives have confirmed known sex offenders were in the area at the time Cleo vanished but there are currently no suspects.

Anyone with information is urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. 

All you need to know about Cleo’s disappearance

Friday 6.30pm: Cleo and her family arrive at the campsite as the sun begins to set. They quickly set up their tent and get settled in, feeding both of the girls.

Friday 8pm: Cleo went to bed while her younger sister and parents stayed up for a little while longer.

Saturday 1.30am: Cleo woke up asking for a drink of water. Ellie tended to her and checked on Isla, who was in a crib right next to Cleo’s mattress in one room in the tent.

Saturday 6am: Ellie woke up to Isla wanting a bottle. She passed the divider that separated the two rooms in the tent and immediately noticed the zipper was almost entirely open. Cleo was gone.

Saturday ‘mid-morning’: Police and emergency services arrive to assist with the search, starting with local Carnarvon officers.

Sunday: Cleo’s mum issues a desperate plea on Facebook to find her daughter.

Sunday/Monday: Homicide detectives, bush trackers and more volunteers are brought in to assist with the search.

Monday: Police confirm Cleo’s grey and red sleeping bag also disappeared. They are yet to comment on whether there were marks that indicate it was dragged from the tent.

Police reveal they are not ruling out any possibilities relating to Cleo’s disappearance.

Tuesday morning: Search is suspended due to wild weather.

Daily Mail Australia confirms the ‘interaction’ Cleo had with her mother was ‘not sinister’ and simply the four-year-old asking for a sip of water.

Tuesday midday: Search continues again as storm passes.

Tuesday 1.30pm: Cleo’s mum and stepdad, Jake, speak to the media for the first time since she disappeared, revealing key pieces of evidence, including:

– The tent they were staying in was left almost entirely open. Cleo and Isla were in the room nearest to the entrance, which was unzipped when Ellie woke up at 6am. Isla remained in her crib unharmed, but Cleo was gone

– Cleo is ‘not the sort of child to wander off’ and would have woken her parents if she needed anything, like when she woke hours earlier to ask for a sip of water

Wednesday: Police confirm reports a car was heard ‘screeching off’ from the campsite at about 3am.

Assistant Commissioner Darryl Gaunt revealed there are ‘between 10 and 20’ known sex offenders in the Carnarvon area, but none are suspects into Cleo’s disappearance following inquiries.

‘We don’t have any concerns about that,’ he said on 6PR Mornings.

‘I know part of the investigative strategies have included reaching and making inquiries into their whereabouts and movements, and this point in time we’re very comfortable where we sit with those inquiries.’

Investigators confirm Cleo would be too short to open the tent zip by herself, stoking fears she was abducted

Thursday 12.30pm local time (3.30pm AEST): WA Premier Mark McGowan offers $1million reward for any information which leads to Cleo coming home or the arrest and conviction of those responsible for taking her

Sunday: West Australian Police say they have a new lead in the hunt for Cleo Smith after witnesses came forward with what could be a vital sighting of a car in the area near the time screeching tyres were heard at the scene.

Police confirm audio of Cleo’s voice has been captured on a CCTV camera installed inside a beach shack just 20 metres from where the little girl was staying on the day before she disappeared. 

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