Man charged with kidnapping 4-year-old Cleo Smith

The man, who was identified by Australia’s public broadcaster as Terence Kelly, was charged with various crimes, including “forcibly taking a child under the age of 16”.

He appeared in Carnavon court on Thursday afternoon, according to a police statement.

Cleo Smith was found by police in the early hours of Wednesday morning in a locked house in Carnarvon, a city in the Western Australian state, about 30 miles from the camp where she was apparently abducted about three weeks ago.

His whereabouts had gripped Australia for several days as concerns for his well-being mounted. Police said Cleo was found in a room in the house with the lights on, awake and playing with toys; they have yet to interview the girl, but specialists have come to Carnarvon from Perth to do so.

“One of the officers took her in his arms and asked her: ‘What’s your name?’ She said, ‘My name is Cleo,’ “Deputy Commissioner Col Blanch said in a statement.

Police also released an audio of the moment she was found, in which Cleo confirms her name to officers. Another video It shows her nodding her head as officers escort her off-site.
Before charging the suspect, police said they believed he acted alone and “spontaneously.” The man was arrested Wednesday and had been taken to hospital after self-injury while in police custody, Western Australian police said.

Speaking to Perth Radio Station 6PR, Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde described the suspect’s injuries as “not life threatening.” He subsequently returned to a police station in Carnarvon and was cooperating with the investigations, Wilde said at a subsequent news conference.

On Thursday, Western Australian Prime Minister Mark McGowan said he met with Cleo and her family and described her as “very well adjusted, considering (her ordeal)”.

“He’s slept a bit and eaten a lot, lain down and cuddled a lot,” McGowan said.

Detective Superintendent Wilde said Cleo had also been searched at the hospital and is “physically fine.”

Cleo’s mother, Ellie Smith celebrated his comeback on Instagram on Wednesday, writing “our family is whole again”, along with a smiling photo of his little daughter.

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