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Police drones scour blowholes in search for little Cleo

Police drones have been spotted hovering over the blowholes near where four-year-old Cleo Smith went missing from her family’s tent at the weekend.

The search for the toddler resumed early this morning, with police holding “grave concerns” for the Carnarvon child who has not been seen since 1.30am on Saturday.

Helicopters have been grounded to allow drones to hover above the blowholes, which frequently shoot jets of water into the air.

The popular tourist attraction is about 1km from the campsite, which is home to a sheltered lagoon frequented by snorkellers.

One caravan leaving the site was searched by police this morning, but it is understood all other guests have now left the camp.

Camera IconThe search for the toddler resumed early this morning, with police holding “grave concerns” for the Carnarvon child who has not been seen since 1.30am on Saturday. Credit: WA Police/supplied

State Emergency Service crews continue to search the thick scrub near the campsite, with Perth detectives and the Pilbara Regiment also arriving at the scene yesterday.

Last night it was revealed that homicide detectives had joined the desperate search for the little girl and were “not ruling anything out” — including a possible abduction.

Cleo vanished from her family’s tent early on Saturday morning during a camping trip at the Blowholes, about 70km north of Carnarvon.

Police say her parents had an “interaction” with their little girl about 1.30am but when they woke about 6am she was gone. Details of the interaction have not been revealed.

Police searched vehicles as they left the Blowholes.
Camera IconPolice searched vehicles as they left the Blowholes. Credit: Phoebe Pin/Geraldton Guardian
Authorities on the scene.
Camera IconAuthorities on the scene. Credit: Phoebe Pin/Geraldton Guardian

Insp. Jon Munday said the circumstances of the case were “extremely concerning” and that the State’s “best investigators”, including detectives from Perth, had arrived to join the search. According to Nine News, the detectives are from the homicide squad.

“We are gravely concerned for the safety of Cleo,” Insp. Munday said.

“At this point in time, we don’t have any answers as to where Cleo is.

“We are trying to cover all our bases and we are not ruling anything out.”

Missing girl Cleo Smith, 4.
Camera IconMissing girl Cleo Smith, 4. Credit: Facebook / Ellie Smith/Facebook / Ellie Smith

Insp. Munday said it had been “reported that there is a sleeping bag missing” but that he was “not at liberty at this point to divulge what else we believe might be missing”.

Asked about the “nightmare” scenario that Cleo had been abducted, he said “that’s the reason by going hard as early as we possibly can, and we are throwing as many different things at this as we possibly can.

“We’ve gathered a lot of information and a lot of intelligence from things like dash cams, CCTV cameras around the place, CCTV at roadhouses,” he said.

“We are trying to paint a picture of who was around here during the window of opportunity between the early hours of Saturday morning and 6am … as to who was around and what leads they can give us.”

Missing girl Cleo Smith, 4. Pictured with mum Ellie Smith and her partner Jake Gliddon.
Camera IconMissing girl Cleo Smith, 4. Pictured with mum Ellie Smith and her partner Jake Gliddon. Credit: Facebook / Ellie Smith/Facebook / Ellie Smith

Insp. Munday said police were loath to have “tunnel vision on one particular scenario”.

He said the possibility of Cleo wandering off from the tent on her own was also “very concerning” because of the “fairly harsh environment”.

“Everything is on the table, we are looking at everything, and hopefully ruling them out as we progress through the investigation,” he said.

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