Suspected kidnapper of Cleo Smith transferred to Perth prison
Sydney, Australia, Nov 5 (EFE).- A man suspected of kidnapping four-year-old Cleo Smith was moved Friday to a maximum security prison in Perth, while police try to reconstruct his movements.
Cleo was found inside a house in the northwestern town of Carnarvon in the early hours of Wednesday, 18 days after she disappeared from her family’s tent at a campsite 75 kilometers north.
Special Operations Group officers transferred 36-year-old Terence Darrell Kelly on a charter flight to Perth, the Western Australian Ministry of Justice reported in a statement.
On Thursday, Kelly was charged in court with various offenses, including one count of forcibly taking a child under 16, and was remanded in custody until a videoconference hearing on Dec. 6.
The suspect, who reportedly has a love of Bratz dolls, was arrested early Wednesday on a street in the town of Carnarvon shortly before police forced entry to the house, minutes from Cleo’s family home, and found her playing with toys.
Investigations are currently focused on tracking Kelly’s movements from the day before Cleo’s disappearance from the campsite, up until her rescue.
Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde, who is heading the investigation and has asked businesses in the area to provide images captured by CCTV during that timeframe, said that the police are not sure if Cleo spent all 18 days locked in the house and it is something “we’re going through and trying to establish,” national broadcaster ABC reported.
Police think the suspect acted alone and had no ties to Cleo’s family, nor was he on the town’s sex offenders register.
Also Friday, Cleo’s family released a statement thanking those involved in the rescue, as well as the community and wider Australian population.
“We are so thankful that our little girl is back within our arms and our family is whole again. As we try to get on with our lives, we ask that you respect our privacy,” it added.
At the time of her disappearance, Cleo was inside a tent at the Blowholes campsite, about 875 kilometers north of Perth, with her infant sister Isla, her mother Ellie Smith, and Smith’s partner, Jake Gliddon.
She had woken up at around 1.30 am in the morning on Saturday, Oct. 16 to ask for water, but at 6 am, when her mother and her partner got up, they discovered that Chloe had disappeared and the tent zip was open. EFE