Cleo Smith search: Police confirm search for missing four-year-old is back on as wild weather clears

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Sarah StegerThe West Australian
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VideoWA Police Inspector Jon Munday speaks to Sunrise as the search for four-year-old Cleo Smith enters its fourth day

The search for four-year-old Cleo Smith, who vanished from her family’s tent at a popular camp site north of Carnarvon on Saturday morning, is back on.

WA Police confirmed the land search for Cleo was back in full operation now that weather conditions have eased.

The search for the little girl was suspended early this morning after wind gusts of up to 75km/h and heavy rainfall wreaked havoc in the Carnarvon area.

The unseasonable cold front hit the Blowholes area, where Cleo went missing from the tent she was staying in with her family, rendering the search impossible.

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

WA Police Insp. Jon Munday said the delay was a “real spanner in the works” for the search.

“We’re really restricted at the moment, it really is quite windy here, we can’t get up in the air up here.”

The frustrating turn in weather, triggered by a strong cold front moving across the WA coast, is expected to continue throughout the morning.

It is hoped the wild weather remains at bay for the remainder of the day —- and the desperate search.

The harsh terrain of the Blowholes makes the search a slow process.
Camera IconThe harsh terrain of the Blowholes makes the search a slow process. Credit: Phoebe Pin/Geraldton Guardian

The Bureau of Meteorology say heavy rain and strong winds will ease by the late afternoon, with milder conditions to stay overnight and into tomorrow.

“These types of systems aren’t unusual for winter, but for this time of year it’s quite unusual,” BoM forecaster Bob Tarr said. “It’s a winter-time front coming in the middle of spring.”

The Carnarvon area has recorded 6mm of rainfall since 5am. The strongest wind gust recorded by 9am was 75km/h, with average winds topping 50km/h.

Drone footage provided by police shows the Blowholes Campsite Carnarvon and the police command post.
Camera IconDrone footage provided by police shows the Blowholes Campsite Carnarvon and the police command post. Credit: WA Police/supplied

Temperatures today and tomorrow are also forecast to be cooler than normal for October, with today’s maximum estimated at 22C degrees, and tomorrow’s at 23C.

“It’s unseasonable for this time of year,” Mr Tarr said.

Insp. Munday said Cleo’s disappearance was “really really concerning”, and described the complex case with many moving parts as “a mystery we’re trying to unravel”.

State Emergency Service crews continue to search bushland for Cleo Smith.
Camera IconState Emergency Service crews continue to search bushland for Cleo Smith. Credit: Phoebe Pin/Geraldton Guardian

It came after he revealed there were “quite a lot of people” at the Blowholes campground the night Cleo went missing.

“We’re tracking and tracing all of those people at the moment, but there’s also nothing to indicate that there’s any cause for the winder community to be alarmed,” he said.

“But it is just really really concerning.

“Hopefully we can get some answers.”

Insp. Munday also confirmed police had interviewed Cleo’s biological father Daniel Staines at the Mandurah Police Station yesterday, where he willingly provided a statement to officers.

There is no suggestion he is involved in Cleo's disappearance.

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