Locals ramp up their efforts in search for missing WA girl Cleo Smith

A police search for missing Western Australian girl Cleo Smith is being bolstered by members of the Carnarvon community.

Blowholes Campground caretaker Brett Kilgallon was one of the first people to try and find the four-year-old, after she went missing at 1.30am last Saturday.

Mr Kilgallon is one of the many people who have been tirelessly searching for the girl ever since.

The search for four-year-old Cleo Smith continues. (Supplied)

“I actually thought I would have found her,” Mr Kilgallon said. “I went down the beaches, I took the bike along there.”

Mr Kilgallon said campers initially assumed Cleo was simply lost.

While the week-long land search only finished yesterday, it has been revealed those searching for the girl in the sky feared the worst on day one.

“Let’s find the girl – if she’s abducted, she could still be alive,” Mr Kilgallon said.

Meanwhile, Cleo’s daycare facilitator is driving town-to-town handing out flyers in an effort to find her.

Melissa Gibbings said the situation is “just terrible”, as police and locals work to find the missing child.

“How could someone take someone else’s child?” Ms Gibbings said.

Melissa Gibbings said the situation was "just terrible", as police and the community work to find the missing child.
Melissa Gibbings said the situation was “just terrible”, as police and the community work to find the missing child. (9News)

“She’s a dear little thing; friendly, happy, gorgeous little girl, full of life.”

While the week-long land search only finished yesterday, it has been revealed those searching for the girl in the sky feared the worst on day one.

“Once the boys completed their refined area search, we dispatched them up the road to Gnaraloo Bay and photographed every vehicle we came across,” Justin Borg from Coral Coast Helicopters told 9News.

Police reinforced today the missing four-year-old girl’s parents aren’t suspects as they search the family’s home for clues about potential stalkers.

Missing child poster for Cleo Smith
The daycare facilitator of Western Australian girl Cleo Smith is driving town-to-town handing out flyers in an effort to find her. (9News)

“They’re doing it really tough,” Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde told radio station 6PR.

Mum Ellie Smith posted another plea for information to social media today.

“Any information big or small,” she said. “Find my little girl.”

Church of Christ Carnarvon pastor Brenden Law-Davis said the mood in the community was “somber”.

“People are in shock obviously and people are hurting for this family,” Mr Law-Davis said.

A candlelight vigil will be held tomorrow in Carnarvon, as everyone in the community tries to keep their spirits high.

Forensic police have shifted their attention towards the family home of missing Western Australian girl Cleo Smith at Carnarvon as the desperate search continues.

Forensics combed through the house for about six hours today, with a focus on the perimeter of the home.

Officers canvassed for fingerprints that could lead them to clues of a potential kidnapper, as they examine the possibility that the four-year-old was stalked.

Police also took photographs of the front fence and play equipment behind it.

Police say the focus is not on the family, rather they are looking at the possibility of someone stalking Cleo in the days before she vanished. It is usual practice to examine all possible avenues in cases like this.

Detectives said today they felt hopeful they’d find Cleo.

It has been eight days since the four-year-old vanished from the Blowholes Campground.

The land search for the missing four-year-old was scaled back yesterday after almost a week.

Detectives are now casting their net wide, appealing for dashcam and security footage within a 1000-kilometre radius of the Blowholes campsite.

Police are specifically looking for video taken between 6pm last Friday and 6pm on Sunday, with a particular interest in motels, service stations, children’s clothing stores, pharmacies and camping stores.

They are now focused on searching for a possible kidnapper.

The search for Cleo Smith has entered its fifth day. Pictured are the pyjamas cleo was wearing the night of her disappearance and a similar sleeping bag.
Pictured are the pyjamas Cleo was wearing the night of her disappearance and a similar sleeping bag. (WA Police)
Police have contacted countless businesses for CCTV and a WA Police community announcement is dominating radio airwaves.

Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde spoke with Today yesterday after the WA government announced a $1 million reward for information leading to Cleo’s recovery.

“We have been searching that area now for almost a week, and unfortunately that hasn’t led us anywhere, so we haven’t found Cleo in an extensive search,” Superintendent Wilde said.

“So that, gathered with some of the evidence that we have gained from the tent and the surrounds there, has led us to believe that possibly someone else was involved in her disappearance.”

Criminologist Associate Professor Xanthe Mallett told Today the reward “only the fourth time in WA history that we’ve seen a reward of $1 million offered in either a disappearance or a murder case”.

“Don’t underestimate the importance of this reward,” Ms Mallett said.”Normally these are offered a significant amount of time later, so maybe years or decades after an offence.

“The fact that this has been offered simply days after Cleo disappeared is really a sign of how serious the police are in getting as much information as early as possible.”

The community is also pitching in to help find the missing four-year-old with a Facebook group called ‘Bring Cleo Home’ amassing more than 52,000 members.

Superintendent Wilde said a lot of information had been coming from the public, but urged people to continue coming forward and contacting Crime Stoppers.

“We are hopeful that will lead us to discovering where she is,” he said.

He said the $1 million reward was a “big prompt” for anybody who had concrete information.

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