Cleo Smith's mum and stepdad RULED OUT as suspects by police

Missing girl Cleo Smith’s mum and stepdad are RULED OUT as suspects by police – after being cruelly abused online by sick trolls

  • Cleo Smith vanished from a Western Australian campsite on October 16 
  • Her voice was heard on CCTV from a nearby shack on the night before 
  • The footage was handed to police in the hope it could help solve the case 
  • The lead detectives on the case has rules out parents Ellie and Jake as suspects 
  • WA Premier Mark McGowan said he was appalled by those insulting them online

Cruel online trolls have been accusing Cleo Smith’s parents of being involved in the girl’s disappearance, as detectives confirm they have been ruled out as suspects and the WA premier is forced to step in to defend the couple.

‘We want to make it clear — they are not suspects in this investigation. They have been helping us.’ Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde, who is leading the investigation, said.

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

Speaking on Sunday, Premier Mark McGowan said Cleo’s mother Ellie and stepdad Jake were going through an enormous amount of worry and suffering and should not have to endure added cruelty.  

Cleo Smith (pictured) went missing from her tent at a WA campsite on October 16 sparking a massive police search 

WA Premier Mark McGowan (pictured) said he was appalled by those who had been hurling abuse and accusations at the four-year-old’s distraught parents 

‘They say the most horrible and shocking things that they’d never say otherwise. I just urge them to stop,’ Mr McGowan said. 

He added those who hurled anonymous insults online were nothing but cowards and there needed to be a return to treating people with decency and respect – particularly in a case like this where people were distraught. 

While much of the commentary online has been well intentioned, there has been a section of people who have hurled abuse and accusations at Cleo parents. 

Det Supt Wilde told The Sunday Telegraph that Ellie and Jake had been ‘copping some very disgusting behaviour online and comments’ online. 

He added they were managing to keep it together despite the enormous stress and had been relying on family and friends for support.  

‘We are in touch with them on a daily basis, keeping them updated and doing whatever we can to help them. But it is a terrible situation no one wants to be in.’

Cleo’s parents Ellie and Jake (pictured) have been ruled out as being involved in Cleo’s disappearance, the lead detective on the case confirmed 

Det Supt Wilde has also ruled out Cleo’s biological father Daniel Staines who was in Mandurah, where he lives, about 1,000km away from the Quobba Blowholes. 

He said Mr Staines has not had anything to do with Cleo since she was born and he was confirmed to be nowhere near the area. 

In the two weeks since Cleo vanished, no trace of her has been found despite a $1million reward on offer for anyone who has information into her whereabouts and a mammoth police operation.

The owner of a nearby shack, Dave Sadecky, handed over the crucial CCTV of little Cleo to police which placed her at the campsite on the night before she vanished.

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

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

The 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.

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 10 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

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 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

‘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.  

‘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.

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