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Australia Million-dollar Cleo Smith reward lures bounty hunters to search for four-year-old missing from Blowholes campsite

10:36  27 october  2021
10:36  27 october  2021 Source:   abc.net.au

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Cleo Smith (centre), pictured with mother Ellie Smith and stepfather Jake Gliddon, has not been seen since October 16. (Facebook: Ellie Smith) © Provided by ABC NEWS Cleo Smith (centre), pictured with mother Ellie Smith and stepfather Jake Gliddon, has not been seen since October 16. (Facebook: Ellie Smith)

Western Australia's acting police commissioner says a $1 million reward offered for information to find missing four-year-old Cleo Smith has attracted bounty hunters to the area where the child was last seen.

Cleo disappeared while on a camping trip with her family at the remote Blowholes campsite, about 50 kilometres north of Carnarvon, on Western Australia's Gascoyne coast.

Her parents awoke to find her missing and the family's tent unzipped to a height the diminutive girl could not have reached.

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  Cleo Smith disappeared from her family's campsite nearly a week ago — here's what we know so far It's been nearly a week since Cleo Smith vanished from her family's tent at the Blowholes, north of Carnarvon. Amidst all the information they have been able to gather to date, police remain baffled.The desperate search for the missing girl has now entered its sixth day, as police continue to painstakingly search the campsite near where she was last seen.

No trace of her has since been found and police say it is likely she has been abducted.

Today acting police commissioner Col Blanch said the million-dollar reward offered by the state government last week had led to a flurry of activity in the Blowholes area.

"As you know, a $1 million reward was put out there to help us find Cleo, and I think people — whether it's for the money, or whether it's just to do the right thing and help find Cleo — people are up there trying to find what happened," he told Nine radio.

“I just ask that people don’t put themselves in any danger in doing so."

He said police searches of the area had found nothing to conclude she had simply wandered off, but there was "still a lot of land out there to cover."

Police still want vehicle information

Acting Commissioner Blanch said police remained focused on trying to find a vehicle seen driving out of the campsite at about 3:00am on the day Cleo vanished.

Vigil to be held for missing WA girl Cleo Smith

  Vigil to be held for missing WA girl Cleo Smith Members of a Western Australia coastal town will gather tonight at a vigil for missing four-year-old local girl Cleo Smith. Cleo was reported missing at 1.30am last Saturday during a camping trip with her family at Blowholes Campground in Carnarvon, about 900km north of Perth.She has not been seen since, with police fearing she may have been abducted.READ MORE: Locals ramp up their efforts in search for missing WA girl Cleo Smith © 9News The WA government is offering a reward of up to $1 million for information that leads to the location of four-year-old Western Australian girl Cleo Smith.

Officers had been going through footage captured by CCTV along the Coastal Highway where the vehicle was seen, and in areas to the south.

"That means [CCTV in] shops, houses, everything else, to corroborate what was witness observations of a vehicle at that time on the highway," he said.

"It's not to say that is the person, but certainly driving around at 3:00am coming out of there would pique our interest".

Cleo's case was raised in Federal Parliament today, with Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews saying the government was strengthening laws to give agencies greater scope to act in the case of crimes against children.

"The AFP and federal agencies will always be ready to support state work of state police forces when it comes to crimes against children and they are currently doing that in the case of four-year-old Cleo Smith, who disappeared from a campsite in Western Australia," she said.

'She was taken': Parents' new plea as Cleo search continues

  'She was taken': Parents' new plea as Cleo search continues The mum of missing WA girl Cleo is holding out hope her daughter will be found alive, as the search continues for the 11th day.With abduction now a primary focus for police, the massive search for Cleo, four, has widened from the tiny coastal campsite in Carnarvon to a much broader zone of remote WA.

"Our thoughts are with the family, and I can assure them that the advanced capabilities of federal law enforcement are being deployed to aid local efforts to find Cleo."

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said he supported the efforts of the government to give police more powers to combat crimes against children.

"Along with the rest of the House and the rest of Australia, we all want to see young Cleo found safely," he told Parliament.

House search 'standard practice'

Meanwhile, Commissioner Blanch said an extensive search of Cleo's family home in Carnarvon carried out by detectives over several hours was "standard practice" and did not mean the four-year-old's parents — mother Ellie Smith and stepfather Jake Gliddon — were suspects.

Forensic investigators arrived at the home shortly after midday on Tuesday and remained there about 9:30pm.

"I must be very clear so people don't make assumptions — that is standard practice in any investigation," he said.

"We must do a thorough investigation.

"The parents have been nothing but helpful, we've worked very closely with them, they've let us into their home and they've let us into their car, their phones, everything.

"That is a normal part of investigations and we must follow it through thoroughly.

"Our job is to eliminate everyone who was at that campsite .. and that really is the focus of the investigation at the moment."

Missing WA girl Cleo Smith smiles and waves in first photo since her rescue .
The first photo of missing Cleo Smith has been released by police after she was dramatically rescued, 18 days after disappearing from a remote WA campsite. The striking image of Cleo, four, in hospital in a photo was released by police, hours after she was found.It shows a smiling Cleo, covered with a blanket, lying on a bed while eating an icy pole.READ MORE: Four-year-old Cleo Smith found alive after vanishing three weeks agoLIVE UPDATES: Cleo Smith found - latest developments © 2021 WA Police Force Cleo Smith in hospital in a photo released by police.

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