Fortress WA will have to lower its drawbridge to the eastern states if police want help from carcass dogs and their handlers from NSW or Queensland in search of where Cleo Smith is.
Taskforce Rodia detectives have not given up hope of finding Cleo alive, but have to consider all eventualities.
Detective Detective Rod Wilde has revealed that dragging dogs into the search was “something we can consider.”
WA Police has no carcass dogs in its kennels. “But we have access to other Australian police jurisdiction resources if and when required,” a police spokesman said.
NSW and Queensland Police both have specialist dogs for detecting human remains.
It-Supt Wilde said his team of about 100 officers “carefully” went through all the information gathered so far.
Frustratingly, they still had not identified anyone who had been at the Blowholes campground when Cleo was suspected of being abducted.
“We have identified and talked to over 110 people who were there that night. We still believe there may be a few more who have not come forward,” he told 6PR.
“Of course we would be eager for these people to sign up so we can talk to them.
“Maybe they have some information that could be critical to the investigation.” Only by talking to everyone can they “put together what actually happened that night.”
“We have talked to everyone (in the immediate vicinity of the tent), but nothing has come out of it so far,” he added.
The senior detective acknowledged that the case was unusual, given the risks and efforts a perpetrator would have made to approach the tent, zip it up, steal Cleo inside her sleeping bag and get away without disturbing her sleeping parents or anyone else in nearby.
“That’s what we’re trying to understand,” he said. The Taskforce chief also agreed that there was only a small amount of time for someone to see Cleo before she was tucked away in her sleeping bag.
He believed it was “more than likely an opportunistic event.” “It was getting dark, so there would have been limited opportunity for people to observe Cleo at that time.”
Det-Supt Wilde shared more details about the family’s activities after arriving at the site around noon. 18.00 on 15 October.
“They pitched the tent, ate some dinner, after which the little children went to bed around eight o’clock,” he said. Cleo’s mother and stepfather sat around a campfire next to the tent before retiring for the night.
We do a lot of forensic work
They had not socialized with anyone else, he said. Ellie Smith last saw her four-year-old daughter around 1:30 a.m. when Cleo woke up and asked for a drink of water.
It-Supt Wilde reiterated that there was “no evidence to suggest that (the parents) are suspects or had any involvement in Cleos’ disappearance.”
Video footage from one of the parents’ phones had confirmed Cleo’s presence at the campground that night, he added.
Detectives threw the net “far and wide” for possible suspects “
“We do a lot of forensic work … The team is really busy,” he said. “There is a lot of work ahead of us, but we are making progress.”
He thanked the public for over 1000 calls with information. Crucially, he still needed public assistance in identifying the people in a car that was seen turning south from Blowholes Road onto the Northwest Coastal Highway toward Carnarvon between 6 p.m. 03.00 and 03.30 on 16 October.
“It’s of interest to us,” he said. “If anyone knows the person or persons who were in that vehicle, if they could pass this information on to Crimestoppers, it would be of great help. It could be that they were just innocent on that road. We just need to talk to them to determine exactly what they were doing there at the time. “
The car was observed at the turn of the passengers in another vehicle heading north on the highway. They were unable to distinguish the make or color of the mysterious car.