Police say the zipper on the tent where the missing Perth girl Cleo Smith slept in when she disappeared was so high that there was no way the four-year-old could open it herself.
As the search for the missing girl entered its fifth day, Insp Jon Munday also said there was “nothing to indicate” that the account given to the police by the girl’s parents was not “accurate and truthful.”
Munday said police were “alarmed” and concerned for Cleo’s safety because the zippered entrance to the store was open when her disappearance was discovered.
“The positioning of that zipper for the flap is one of the circumstances that has caused us serious concerns for Cleo’s safety,” he said.
“That store has been thoroughly examined by our forensic team and I believe it has been seized and I imagine it would arrive in Perth at some point.”
Cleo’s mother, Ellie Smith, made a desperate call Tuesday for public information, saying her daughter would never leave alone.
The search for the four-year-old girl entered a fifth day on Wednesday, with drones and SES volunteers continuing to patrol the area after the search was temporarily suspended after bad weather on Tuesday.
Detectives were also looking for reports that a speeding car had been heard from the popular Blowholes site near Carnarvon in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Munday said investigators were not “removing anything from the table,” but nothing had been located in the search area that would have been of interest to the team, and there were no suspects in connection with the girl’s disappearance.
Four square kilometers of Cleo’s last known position had been covered, as the police carried out new searches in the huts near the family’s camp.
“After yesterday’s bad weather, we made the decision this morning to revisit the marine environment for searches,” Munday said.
“The water that passes through the breakwaters is quite choppy, so … we have done some work with drones in relation to the marine environment.”
Munday said all registered sex offenders who had been identified as in the Carnarvon area at the time of their disappearance had been spoken to. Homicide detectives were assisting in the highly resourceful investigation.
“It’s frustrating, it’s discouraging, but it’s because of the professionalism of the guys who are involved in this,” he said.
“We are focused on finding Cleo and we are just going to continue to do so no matter if we find something … until we can put our hand to our hearts and say that Cleo is not in the search area, we will continue to keep doing what we are doing.” .
Assistant Police Commissioner Darryl Gaunt told Perth Radio 6PR on Wednesday: “To say that we are treating this as a kidnapping is not correct. We are treating it as a search and rescue mission first and foremost, and that remains our mission. “
Cleo was last seen by her parents around 1:30 a.m. Saturday in her family’s tent at Camp Blowholes, wearing pink one-piece pajamas with a blue and yellow pattern.
“As time goes by, we know that the prognosis going forward gets worse every day,” Gaunt said. “It’s every parent’s worst nightmare.”
In an emotional interview, Cleo’s mother said Tuesday that she and her partner, Jake Gliddon, had discovered that their daughter had disappeared around 6 a.m. Saturday after seeing her younger sister, Isla.
Smith discovered that Cleo was gone and that the store was “completely open.” His red and black sleeping bag was also missing.
“We hope that she is here [near the campsite] because if I think they will take it away … a million more things cross our minds, “he said. “We sit and look at the sand dunes and we think she will run down and come back into our arms, but we are still waiting.”