Cleo Smith found: WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson says information about the car led to breakthrough rescue

WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson has revealed that “really important information about a car” was received by detectives in the hours before they found Cleo Smith in a Carnarvon home.

The four-year-old was rescued from a locked room by officers who broke their way into a home just before 1 a.m. Wednesday.

About the same time, a 36-year-old man was arrested on another property nearby and arrested.

Dawson said crucial information about a vehicle triggered the incredible breakthrough.

“We followed all the tracks we could. We had some important information, I can say that the information about a car was really important,” he told 6PR.

“Yes, we had a number of people we were very very interested in, but late yesterday (Tuesday) and in the early hours this morning (Wednesday) we had a breakthrough.

“We got a strong head start (Tuesday night) and they (the officers) informed me about it and said we’ll have to get into this house.”

Dawson admitted that the news of Cleo having been found “alive and well” had brought tears to his eyes.

“I can not release it yet, but I have seen the (body-worn camera) video of it (Cleo’s rescue). They broke into the house … She was in there and to see that sight and to see and listen -” what is your name? “, they picked her up and she said” my name is Cleo “, he said.

“It gave a rude tear to the eye. It’s just so remarkable, and I’m just so proud of the way they worked their way through this. It’s just so wonderful that we have given her back to her parents. ”

Dawson said he could not go into much more detail, but said he had seen a “beautiful photo” of Cleo smiling after her rescue.

“And right after, she was back with her parents. It’s just such a happy reunion. I can say that she is smiling and that she is fine. She has obviously been through a ordeal, but she is now back with her parents, where she should be, ”he said.

Forensic scientists arrive at the spot where Cleo Smith was found in Carnarvon.
Camera iconForensic scientists arrive at the spot where Cleo Smith was found in Carnarvon. Credit: Phoebe Pin/Geraldton Guardian

Dawson admitted the result was one the police had hoped for, but not one they thought would be the likely result after the 18-day search for the little girl.

“Of course we were very worried. Yes, we were hoping for this result, but I would be less than truthful if I said I was not very worried about the result. We were very worried,” he said.

“It’s a wonderful, wonderful result.”

The 40-year-old police veteran’s counterpart in New South Wales, Police Commissioner Mick Fuller, told 2GB radio host Ben Fordham that Mr Dawson was “broken and crying” after receiving the news.

“When he was called up this morning, he said he broke down and cried. Which I think you rarely see for a veteran of the police, so I think that says a lot about the effort they have put in. “And I just think it’s such a great story,” he said.

Missing Girl Cleo Smith, 4th with stepfather Jake Gliddon
Camera iconCleo Smith, 4, with stepfather Jake Gliddon Credit: Facebook/Facebook

Dawson said the police had some “really, really hard days,” but that it was days like this, “where you just go ‘yep that’s why I’m here.’

“We (WA Police) are a family, we have our own culture, and one of those cultures is the strength of working together, and that’s one of the reasons people just love this job,” he said. .

“I can only say that being able to bring joy back to the family that has been through such an ordeal.”

He said yesterday’s breakthrough had come after weeks of hard work by police.

“We collected a lot of data, we collected every little bit of physical evidence, we just didn’t let anything fall. We just had to follow it all through,” he said at 6PR.

“And that breakthrough has proven to be the result of all that work.”

Mr. Dawson will fly up to Carnarvon later on Wednesday to thank the local community and thank his officers and talk to Cleo’s parents.

** ONLINE OUT TO AFTER CLEANING ON FLASHPOINT ** FLASHPOINT exclusive interview with Ellie Smith and Jake Gliddon, mother and stepfather of the missing 4-year-old Cleo Smith.
Camera iconEllie Smith and Jake Gliddon, mother and stepfather of 4-year-old Cleo Smith. Credit: FLASH POINT/FLASH POINT

“They have been through a terrible ordeal and the emotions have been high, so we have to make sure that society remains solid,” he said.

A 36-year-old Carnarvon man is expected to arrive in Perth under police guard on Wednesday for questioning.

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