Missing girl Cleo Smith, four, was found living in a house in Carnarvon, Australia two weeks after she disappeared from a campsite where she lived with her family
The man who owns the house Cleo Smith was found in was seen buying diapers days earlier and weeping could be heard inside, neighbors say.
Shocked Carnarvon residents spoke after a 36-year-old man was arrested and taken into custody for questioning.
The good news followed that four-year-old Cleo had been found alive by officials after a long search.
Police ransacked the house during their search on Wednesday at around 1 a.m. after disappearing from a family campsite in nearby Blowholes Park.
Speaking to reporters, neighbors described suspicious behavior in the house where the girl was eventually found.
A neighbor told the story Sunrise: “The other day – on Monday – we saw him buying in Woolworths Kimbies [nappies] and the.
“But we didn’t click on what he bought it for.”
Sahntayah McKenzie, who also lives nearby, said she heard crying one night but did not associate it with the then missing girl.
she said The Western Australian: “Not last night, the night before … I heard a little girl cry, but I wouldn’t expect it to be Cleo.
“I didn’t expect it to happen in this small neighborhood, a lot of people know each other.”
Neighbors called the man who lived in the house “calm” and said they did not expect him to be involved.
One resident said everyone knew each other, but kept themselves to themselves. MailOnline reports.
He said, “Everyone knows the person who lives in this house, but nobody would have thought they were.
“We were shocked.”
The girl’s disappearance sparked a frantic search that ended when officers broke into a house and found Cleo in one of the rooms.
Police said a man was arrested after the raid at 1 a.m. at an address in Carnarvon, just under 80 kilometers from the campsite.
Detectives had previously said they believed Cleo had been kidnapped.
After the good news that Cleo was safely found, her mother Ellie Smith took to social media to share her relief.
“Our family is whole again,” she wrote on her Instagram page alongside a single heart emoji.
In an emotional statement earlier, New South Wales Commissioner Mick Fuller said his Western Australian counterpart Chris Dawson burst into tears at the news.
Mr. Fuller said he thought the chances of finding Cleo alive were “so slim”.
He added, “The Western Australian police never gave up on Cleo, it was good old-fashioned policing that resulted in her being found alive.”