Cleo Smith’s mum said as a family they are still recovering and learning how to navigate through their days but said she is doing “okay” after the ordeal in Australia
The mother of Cleo Smith whose daughter was kidnapped for 18 days has relived the agony three months after the terrifying ordeal.
Cleo was abducted in the early hours of October 16 from the Blowholes campsite, 75km north of Carnarvon, Australia, where she was on holiday with her family.
The four-year-old was later found alive and well by officers who raided her abductor’s home in a case that became recognized internationally.
In an interview with 60minutes, Cleo’s mum said as a family they are still recovering and learning how to navigate through their days, but said her daughter is “okay”.
The mother relived the agonizing moment she realized her little daughter was gone.
“My heart told me she’s not here, she’s not going to run into my arms today,” mum Ellie Smith said to 60 minutes.
“She was basically no where near me and that was the moment I realized someone has her, and both my head and my heart connected that someone has her, someone has my baby.
9 news/60 minutes)
“It was the same tent, and he’s taken a step in there, grabbed our child and we’re sleeping right next to it all.”
Discussing the agonizing wait for answers, Cleo’s mum said: “I was basically crying on the floor.”
In the interview it was also revealed that there was a footprint found inside the tent.
A team of 140 people had been working on the case with police fielding more than 1,000 tips from the public.
JAMES CARMODY/ABC NEWS POOL/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)
The conditions with remote terrain meant it was difficult to search the area with some people using quad bikes and even a drone.
More than 100 people at the site were interviewed, and police carried out extensive searches by land and air.
Police carried out a raid on a house 18 days after she went missing and found the dead who told police “My name is Cleo.”
Terence Darrell Kelly, 36, was charged with forcibly taking a child under 16 and pleaded guilty last month.
His guilty plea means he will avoid a lengthy trial for which detectives have been preparing for months.
He is yet to enter a plea to other charges he faces.
Kelly will be sentenced at a later date when he appears again in court.