Cleo Smith search: Taskforce Rodia lead Rod Wilde says cases ‘don’t get any worse’ than suspected abductions

Hayley Sorensen & Brianna DuganThe West Australian
VideoWATCH NOW: In Up Late tonight, Ben Harvey has important insight on Cleo Smith’s disappearance –what police are saying, and what they really mean.

Cases don’t “get any worse” than the suspected abduction of Cleo Smith from her tent, the detective in charge of bringing the four-year-old home has said.

Taskforce Rodia is led by veteran officer Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde, who was involved in the other high profile child abduction cases, including the unsolved 1997 murder of Gerard Ross.

“Look, it doesn’t get any worse,” he said.

“We know that. We really feel for the parents.”

Cleo’s mother and stepfather have remained at the Quobba Blowholes campground since she vanished on Saturday.

Supt. Wilde said the fact a methodical land search near the campground had turned up no trace of Cleo led police to believe she had been kidnapped.

“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,” Supt. Wilde told The Today Show.

“The team is working around the clock to investigate all of those leads and we are hopeful that that may lead us to discovering where Cleo is.”

The Police Command Centre is slowly getting smaller with less vehicles.
Camera IconThe Police Command Centre is slowly getting smaller with less vehicles. Credit: Jackson Flindell/The West Australian

The land search at Quobba Blowholes is today being scaled back following the concession it is extremely unlikely Cleo is still at the campground.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services incident control command post left the campsite late last night.

Police still remain at the scene and are actively searching for the missing four-year-old, however Assistant Commissioner Col Blanch said yesterday the active land search would be scaled back within 24 hours.

A police barricade is at the scene preventing people from entering the site, where Cleo’s family remain — clinging onto the hope she will return.

More tourists are arriving at the camp ground, with some unaware that it is an active crime scene.

Signage on the North West Coastal Highway, 20km north of Carnarvon, approaching Blowholes Rd.
Camera IconSignage on the North West Coastal Highway, 20km north of Carnarvon, approaching Blowholes Rd. Credit: Jackson Flindell/The West Australian

The campsite remains closed to visitors so those arriving either head onto Quobba station or return back down Blowholes Road.

It is expected other squads, including mounted police, will pack up later today.

Regional town police sent to Carnarvon for support are also slowly pulling back.

But Supt. Wilde said police hadn’t given up hope of bringing Cleo home.

“There is a lot of information that has come in. So we are going through that methodically. Look, we are hopeful that will lead us to discovering where she is,” he said.

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

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