Missing four-year-old Cleo Smith found ‘alive and well’ in Western Australia
The suspected kidnapper of four-year-old Cleo Smith has been treated in hospital for a second time amid reports he was “attacked” while in custody.
The 36-year-old man was detained by Western Australia Police after its officers found the four-year-old girl alive and well in a house in Carnarvon, 18 days after she disappeared from a remote campsite.
He has gone to hospital twice to receive treatment for injuries since his arrest, police said. One unconfirmed report said a fellow prisoner “beat him black and blue,” while another said the suspect had tried to self-harm.
Meanwhile, Cleo has been reunited with her parents. “Our family is whole again,” Ellie Smith, Cleo’s mother, wrote on Instagram as she shared the news.
The Australian prime minister Scott Morrison described the breakthrough as “a huge relief”.
“The fact that that nightmare has come to an end and our worst fears were not realised, is just a huge relief,” he added.
Follow the latest live updates below.
Suspect ‘off to hospital again’ says police chief
Western Australia Deputy Police Commissioner Col Blanch said the suspected kidnapper of four-year-old Chloe Smith was “assisting” detectives — but it’s still unclear if he is fit to be interviewed amid reports he has been injured.
“He’s gone off to hospital again this morning,” Mr Blanch told Sunrise on 7 News.
“The important thing for police, if we’re going to interview someone about offences as serious as this … we will need them in a condition where they have had a rest, they’re in a good mental state, they’ve been fed.
“So, we’ve got to make sure we give them the best opportunity to answer questions and that’s to ensure that the court process is validated if we get to that point.”
Alastair Jamieson4 November 2021 00:56
Police officer involved in Cleo Smith rescue missed son’s graduation
One of the officers involved in the rescue of Cleo Smith had missed his son’s school graduation, the police minister has said.
Western Australia’s police minister Paul Papalia praised the four officers, noting that one of them had missed his son’s leaving event.
“He told us last night a story, he’d apologised to his son and his son said to him, ‘Dad, what you’re doing is way too important’, and it is an incredible thing to see,” Mr Papalia said.
Rory Sullivan3 November 2021 23:53
Cleo Smith spends first night back with family
Four-year-old Cleo Smith has spent her first night back with her family, after going missing for a total of 18 days.
Western Australia deputy police commissioner Col Blanch told the 2GB radio station: “(Cleo’s parents) had a small amount of hope but I’m pretty sure they thought they were never going to give her a cuddle again.”
“I’m pretty sure they all slept in the same room, just cuddling all night.”
Rory Sullivan3 November 2021 23:32
Cleo Smith suspect ‘attacked’ in custody
The man suspected of kidnapping four-year-old Cleo Smith was hospitalised after being attacked in custody, reports have suggested.
Another prisoner is thought to have beaten up the 36-year-old after learning who he was, according to the Australian media.
The alleged attacker’s mum told Daily Mail Australia: “As soon as he heard this bloke was arrested over that little Cleo, he blew up, beat him black and blue.
“I tell you what, he got a real hiding… my son had to be taken out in shackles,” she added.
Rory Sullivan3 November 2021 23:08
Cleo Smith to be given time with family before police ask her disappearance
Western Australia police will give Cleo Smith time with her family before they ask her about what happened during her 18-day disappearance, the force’s deputy police commissioner has said.
Col Blanch told the 2GB radio channel that she spent last night with her family for the first time
Rory Sullivan3 November 2021 22:41
Residents describe man taken into custody over Cleo Smith disappearance
Neighbours have described the 36-year-old taken into custody by police in Australia as an overweight man with long black hair.
Speaking to ABC News, one resident, who lives near the home where Cleo Smith was rescued, said she had seen him coming and going from the property over the past two weeks.
“I just saw him in and out, by his house,” she said.
Rory Sullivan3 November 2021 22:25
Madeleine McCann’s parents have ‘hope’ after rescue of Cleo Smith
The parents of Madeleine McCann have “hope” after the rescue of Cleo Smith in Western Australia, a family source has said.
Speaking to the Sun, they said: “Kidnapped children can be found, this case is proof and gives Kate and Gerry and all those other families of missing people hope.
“They never stop hoping for that happy and positive news.”
Madeleine, 3, disappeared from the family’s hotel room in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in May 2007.
Rory Sullivan3 November 2021 22:05
Police minister to speak about rescue of Cleo Smith
Western Australia’s police minister will soon speak to ABC News about the rescue of four-year-old Cleo Smith.
After going missing in mid-October, she was found alive and well during a police raid in the town of Carnarvon, dozens of miles from the spot where she disappeared.
Rory Sullivan3 November 2021 21:41
‘Incredible’ moment four-year-old was found
For those who missed it, here’s a piece by Maroosha Muzaffar on a police officer’s description of the moment he found four-year-old Cleo Smith inside a locked house in Carnarvon, Australia.
Rory Sullivan3 November 2021 19:38
Cleo Smith rescued after 18 days
Here’s my colleague Zoe Tidman with an overview of today’s events:
Rory Sullivan3 November 2021 18:55