Cleo Smith, a 4-year-old Australian girl who was kidnapped and held hidden for 18 days, says a woman helped take care of her while she was held inside a locked home in Carnarvon.
DailyMail reports that 4-year-old Cleo told police that a female combed her hair and “looked after her” while she was held in a stranger’s home. Police arrested Terry Kelly, 36, last week and charged him with kidnapping, but so far, no other person has been charged in the case.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, family members reported Cleo missing on the morning of October 16 from Blowholes Campground in Macleod, where she was staying in a tent with her family. Cleo’s mother, Ellie Smith, told authorities that they woke up to find her missing at around 6 a.m. They reportedly last saw at around 1:30 a.m. that morning.
Last Tuesday, Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said investigators got the tip they needed that helped them locate the child.
That tip apparently had something to do with a suspicious car. Police previously reported that they spotted a “passenger vehicle” and “not a large truck,” leaving a campsite in the Western Australia Gascoyne region.
“Look, me and Deputy Commissioner Blanch and others talked about … we were trying to find a car,” Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said on KIIS1065 radio. “I’ll leave it at that.”
Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde, who led the team who helped find Cleo, said that there wasn’t one single thing that helped them find the child, but instead, a number of things that lined up.
“Analysing all of that information, gathering it all, working through it, and finding that needle in a haystack,” Wilde explained.
Initially, authorities said they had the only person involved in the case behind bars. Now, however, they are exploring whether more people are involved.
“That’s why we are still here,” Detective Senior Sgt. Cameron Blaine told the media. “So, we just ask that if there was anyone that had any contact with Mr. Kelly, whether you saw him, whether you met with him, whether you spoke to him on the phone during the relevant period to please make yourself known to police.”
After police arrested Kelly, they announced he was not known to the Smith family. He was taken to the hospital twice afterward for self-inflicted injuries sustained while he was in jail.
Following his arrest, videos and photos from Kelly’s Facebook account surfaced. A room in Kelly’s home showed dozens of dolls, some that were still in its packaging. In April 2020, Kelly posted a photo to Facebook of himself taking a doll for a drive.
“I love taking my dolls for drive around [sic]and doing their hair and taking selfies in public,” the Facebook post read.
Shocked neighbors at the Tonkin Crescent neighborhood said that Kelly was a loner that mostly kept to himself. Another neighbor said they noticed Kelly leaving the home more frequently in recent days and returning with groceries.
A spokesperson for the police department stated that there are no updates this time about the possible mystery woman, but explained that “inquiries are continuing” and could take several weeks.
Check back for updates.
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[Feature Photo: n this image made from a video released by Western Australia Police, a police officer carries rescued girl Cleo Smith in Carnarvon, Australia Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021. Police smashed their way into a suburban house on Wednesday and rescued the girl whose disappearance from her family’s camping tent on Australia’s remote west coast more than two weeks ago both horrified and captivated the nation. (Western Australia Police via AP)]