Authorities in western Australia have announced that they are offering one million Australian dollars (around $750,000) for information leading to the discovery of four-year-old Cleo Smith, who has been missing for six days with no traces found of her.
Cleo disappeared from her family’s tent at a remote campsite in Macleod, around 30 miles north of Carnavon, in the early hours of Saturday morning. Police believe the girl to have been abducted.
“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 ... that leads us to believe that she was taken from the tent,” Western Australia Police Major Crime Division Superintendent Rod Wilde said in a press conference Thursday.
“We’d imagined that we would have been able to locate her given the amount of resources and the detailed search that’s taken place,” he added.
On Tuesday, Cleo’s, Ellie Smith, and her partner, Jake Gliddon, made a public appeal for help to find the girl.
“We’ve had so much family help us, support us. But you know like everyone asks us what you need, all we really need is our little girl home,” Smith told CNN affiliate 9 News.
According to Smith, Cleo woke up in the middle of the night asking for a drink of water. Both went back to sleep afterward, but when Smith woke up at six a.m., Cleo was gone, along with her sleeping bag. According to police investigating the case, the tent’s zipper is placed too high for the girl to reach, leading them to assume abduction as the cause of her disappearance and express their “grave concerns” for the girl’s welfare.
Teams concentrated on the water first in their search for Cleo, then switched to land, searching along the coastline at the campsite. Drones were sent over rough seas off nearby cliffs and crews combed the terrain on foot, in vehicles and on quad bikes.
No suspects have emerged in the case, and Munday said police had no reason not to believe what they were told by Smith and Gliddon.
“There is nothing to indicate to us that that account is anything but accurate and truthful,” Munday said, adding that police are “not taking anything off the table. We are just exhausting all the opportunities and all the possibilities.”