Terence Darrell Kelly charged with abducting four-year-old Cleo Smith

Western Australian Police have charged a man in relation to the disappearance of Western Australian child Cleo Smith.

Carnarvon man Terence Darrell Kelly, 36, has appeared in court facing charges including forcibly taking a child under 16.

The four-year-old child vanished from a tent at the Blowholes campsite, about 950km north of Perth, after the family arrived on October 16. She was last seen by her mother around 1.30am that night.

The ensuing search captured national attention, and her stunning rescue was hailed as a miracle.

Cleowas found in the early hours of Wednesday morning in a locked house in Carnarvon, a coastal town north of Perth and 75 kilometres south from where she went missing.


Officers found Cleo, alone in a room and physically unharmed, after breaking into the locked-up house and the remarkable moment was captured by an officer's body camera. Western Australian Police have released the audio of the moment.

An officer can be heard saying "we got her, we got her" and "I've got you bubby, you're alright".

Before another officer asks "what's your name sweetheart?"

She answers "m-my name is Cleo".

Kelly, who is yet to enter a plea to his charges, was arrested on a nearby street around the same time.

On Wednesday, West Australian Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said police could be in Carnarvon for up to a fortnight as they work through what happened tothe child.

The little girl was returned home to her mother Ellie Smith, stepdad Jake Gliddon and baby sister Isla and is said to have been happy and playing.

Cleo Smith after her rescue. Picture: WA Police

Cleo Smith after her rescue. Picture: WA Police

Ms Smith accompanied Cleo, who smiled at photographers while clutching a pink balloon, to the local police station on Thursday.

It's understood she was set to speak to specialist child interviewers for the first time.

Supt Wilde said it was yet to be established whether Cleo was kept at the property for the entire 18 days she was apart from her family.

Homicide detective Cameron Blaine, who was among Cleo's rescuers, spent time with the family on Thursday and said the little girl appeared to be holding up well.

"I can only see her from the outside. But from that point of view, I'm amazed that she seems to be so well-adjusted and happy," he said.

"It was really heartwarming to see that she's still bubbly and she's laughing.

"She's falling asleep in her mother's arms. There was one occasion where she asked if she could lay next to mum and have Ellie look at her while she fell asleep.

"It's really good to see that she's adjusted, she's getting some sleep, she's playing in the backyard exactly how you would expect."

Cleo Smith. Picture: WA Police.

Cleo Smith. Picture: WA Police.


  • With AAP
This story Man charged with abducting four-year-old Cleo Smith first appeared on The Canberra Times.