Police treating Australian girl’s disappearance as abduction

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Police in Western Australia are searching for a 4-year-old girl who they believe was abducted over the weekend from her campsite.

Cleo Smith was last seen in her family’s tent around 1:30 a.m. Saturday at the remote Blowholes Shacks campsite in Macleod, about 560 miles north of Perth.

When her mother woke up around five hours later, the little girl was nowhere to be found, police said.

Cleo Smith was last seen in her family's tent at around 1:30 a.m. Saturday.
Cleo Smith was last seen in her family’s tent around 1:30 a.m. Saturday.
HANDOUT/WESTERN AUSTRALIAN POLICE FORCE/AFP via Getty Images

“As we passed the divider, I went into the other room and the zipper was open,” her mother, Ellie Smith, told reporters. “I turned around to [my partner] Jake and just said, ‘Cleo’s gone.’”

Search crews are looking by air, sea and land for the girl, canvassing the rugged area near the coastline — and authorities said they’re treating her disappearance as an abduction.

“Given the information now that we’ve gleaned from the scene, the fact that the search has gone on for this period of time and we haven’t been able to locate her … it leads us to believe that she was taken from the tent,” Rob Wilde, a detective superintendent with the Western Australian police, told reporters Thursday, the Guardian reported.

Australian police released this photo of an outfit similar to what Cleo Smith was wearing.
Australian police released this photo of an outfit similar to what Cleo Smith was wearing.
HANDOUT/WESTERN AUSTRALIAN POLICE FORCE/AFP via Getty Images
Police also released this photo of a sleeping bag similar to what Smith was in at the time of her disappearance.
Police released this photo of a sleeping bag, similar to what the 4-year-old was in at the time of her disappearance.
HANDOUT/WESTERN AUSTRALIAN POLICE FORCE/AFP via Getty Images

Wilde said it’s possible that Cleo has been taken to another state in the country.

“We’ve been in touch with all jurisdictions around Australia,” Wilde said. “We want to get this information out there and if anyone Australia-wide has information that could be relevant to the investigation, we ask that they call Crime Stoppers.”

Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan announced a $748,100 reward for information about the disappearance.

“It is absolutely heartbreaking,” McGowan said in a post on Facebook. “We are all praying for a positive outcome.”

With Post wires

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