4-Year-Old Cleo Smith has been missing for the past few weeks. Thank God for the persistent efforts of the West Australian Police Force, she has been found alive and well recently.
This latest development was celebrated not only in Australia but in different parts of the world as well. The world of Cleo’s parents turned upside-down when she went missing a couple of weeks ago. Her family went on a camping trip at Blowholes Campground, 70 km. north of Carnarvon.
Initially, it was assumed that she had gone off with her sleeping bag. When the police began to piece together the evidence, they came to the conclusion that the young child had been kidnapped. When she was discovered, she had been missing for 18 days!
Pieces of evidence they gathered were as follows: a vehicle was seen speeding away from the area on the day she went missing, the zipper on the flap of the tent where she stayed could not be unzipped by a 4-year-old because it was beyond her reach,
and the forensic scientists also checked if there were attempts for a break-in at the family’s house, among others. The police force searched high and low for Cleo. The Australian government even offered 1M Australian dollars as a reward to anyone who could give details about the missing girl.
It was a monumental and emotional moment when the toddler was found. The authorities carefully studied the evidence they had, followed the leads, and worked in a ‘methodical’ way. The help of the community and her family was also of great aid to them.
The police were guided by forensic leads which led them to a particular house. They broke down the door and found the sweet girl inside. They asked for her name and when she replied, “My name is Cleo,” everyone was in tears.
Western Australia Police Commissioner Chris Dawson was also emotional when he learned that the little girl was found already. New South Wales Police Commissioner Mick Fuller narrated to a Sydney radio host that “when he (Dawson) got the call this morning, he broke down and cried.”
“It simply speaks volumes in terms of the amount of work they put into finding her,” he said, adding that such a reaction from a police veteran was unusual. According to the Associated Press, other police officers have had the same reaction. A 36-year-old man, who has not been identified, has been apprehended and is being held in custody. According to West Australia, he was unknown to Cleo’s family.
Cleo has finally been reunited with her family. The WA Police Department worked around the clock to locate her. For the Smith family, Christmas will undoubtedly be a joyous occasion. Thank you, Lord, for the direction you gave these officers. He was the one who made it possible for the people to work together to address this problem. Above all, He was the one who gave them the love and concern they needed to be vessels of His protection for the people He entrusted to them.
Western Australia Police Minister Paul Papalia expressed his relief and gratitude by saying, “If you feel the need to thank God today, thank God for the West Australian police force.”