The West Australian Government has announced a massive $1 million reward for information to help find four-year-old Cleo Smith, who has been missing for almost a week.
The reward, which is the equal biggest reward ever offered in WA, is in exchange for information leading to the child, or to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the youngster’s suspicious disappearance.
Grave concerns are being held for Cleo, who was last seen in a red and black sleeping bag in a tent at the Blowholes campsite in Macleod around 1.30am on Saturday October 16.
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Police with the assistance of SES personnel, drones and aircraft, have been searching for Cleo ever since she disappeared six days ago but have so far had no luck in locating her.
WA Premier Mark McGowan fronted media on Thursday afternoon to make the reward announcement, declaring there is now “one million reasons to come forward” with information.
“There is over 100 police personnel on this case… Plus volunteers, plus Army reserves that are out there searching in the efforts to find Cleo Smith as we speak,” Mr McGowan said.
“It is a sad situation and very difficult situation. Naturally, our thoughts go to everyone involved, especially the family and friends of Cleo,” he continued.
“Police are working around the clock to try and find Cleo right now and we are going to offer a $1 million reward to anyone who provides information that leads us to finding Cleo.”
Mr McGowan said he hoped the money incentive would “hopefully allow us to help discover the location of Cleo as soon as possible.”
“I urge anyone who has any knowledge of the location of Cleo, please provide that information to police and ensure that we can provide some certainty to Cleo’s loved ones and hopefully bring Cleo back safe and sound.”
Superintendent Rob Wilde said police remain hopeful of finding Cleo alive but admitted hopes are fading.
“Given the information that we have received, the fact that the search has gone on for this period of time and we haven’t been able to locate her, that leads us to believe that she was taken from the tent.”
“We’ve been in touch with all jurisdictions around Australia. We want to get this information out there and if anyone Australia-wide has information that could be relevant to the investigation we ask that they call Crime Stoppers,” he said.
Acting WA Police Commissioner Col Blanch said “someone in the community knows what happened to Cleo” and urged them to come forward now.
“The reward is for locating Cleo or bringing those persons or person to account who are involved in her disappearance,” Commissioner Blanch said.
“The cooperation of the community is what we are urgently seeking.
“Someone in our community knows what happened to Cleo. Someone has the knowledge that can help and now there is a million reasons why you need to come forward.”