Cleo Smith kidnap suspect taken into ambulance with head injuries after being 'beaten in prison by inmate'

THE Cleo Smith kidnap suspect was taken into an ambulance with head injuries after reportedly being beaten in custody.

The 36-year-old man was pictured lying down in the ambulance with his bandaged head covered in a blanket.

Missing Cleo Smith was carried to safety as she was found safe 18 days after vanishing from a campsite.

Police cameras show the four-year-old in an officer's arms as she's taken outside after cops burst in at 1am following a sudden tip off.

A suspect who has no connection with her family, has been arrested in connection with her disappearance.

What we know so far…

  • Police broke into a locked house at 1am and found Cleo in one of the rooms
  • A 36-year-old man has been arrested in connection with her disappearance.
  • Acting on a sudden tip off cops swooped on the property.
  • The house is just a seven minute drive from her family home
  • Cleo's relieved mum Ellie said: "Our family is home again."

In moving bodycam footage after Cleo was found, a cop introduces himself to the her before asking: "Are you ok?"

He was reportedly attacked by another inmate in the holding cells in the early hours of the morning, who found out why he had been arrested, the Daily Mail Australia reports.

It has emerged suspect was seen uncharacteristically buying nappies in the last few days.

"The other day – on Monday – we saw him in Woolworths buying Kimbies [nappies] and that," neighbour Henry Dodd told Australia's 'Sunrise' news show.

"But we didn't click why he was buying them for or who he was buying them for.

"Everyone knows the person who stays at that house, but no one would have thought it would be him. We were shocked."

🔵 Read our Cleo Smith blog for the latest updates in the search

Sahntayah McKenzie who lives nearby said she heard the sound of crying one night, but did not connect it to the missing girl.

"Not last night, the night before it… I heard a little girl crying but I wouldn't expect it to be Cleo," she told The West Australian.

"I didn't expect it would happen in this little neighbourhood, a lot of people know each other."

Rennee Turner drove to her sister’s house on the street where Cleo was found as soon as she heard the news.

She said she went on a construction course with the man who she described as a "very quiet guy" and "a bit of an oddball".

Lead investigator Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde told reporters police did not have any other suspects in the case.

“It appears as though it was opportunistic,” he said.

"What's your name" officers asked as they found the little girl alone in a bedroom and scooped her up into their arms.

"My name is Cleo," she replied.

The officer then says: "We're going to take you to see your mummy and daddy, ok?"

Police busted open the door of a home more than a fortnight after she vanished from her tent at the Blowholes camp in Western Australia.


The property in Carnarvon is just a seven-minute drive from her family home.

Police say she appeared to be "physically ok" but is currently being cared for in hospital.

Cleo's mum Ellie Smith spoke out for the first time since the little girl was found, posting the emotional message to Instagram: "Our family is whole again."

Her biological dad Daniel Staines said he is "overjoyed" she has been found alive.

Deputy Commissioner Col Blanch said in a statement: "It’s my privilege to announce that in the early hours of this morning, the Western Australia Police Force rescued Cleo Smith.

"Cleo is alive and well. A police team broke their way into a locked house in Carnarvon about 1am.

"They found little Cleo in one of the rooms. Cleo was reunited with her parents a short time later.

"This is the outcome we all hoped and prayed for.

"It’s the outcome we’ve achieved because of some incredible police work.

"I want to thank Cleo’s parents, the Western Australian community and the many volunteers.

"I can confirm we have a man from Carnarvon in custody who is currently being questioned by detectives.


"We’ll have more to say on the rescue of Cleo as the day unfolds. For now – Welcome home Cleo."

Dubbed the 'Aussie Maddie McCann,' cops launched a desperate hunt for the child after she went missing from the remote campsite in her pink pyjamas.

Her mum Ellie last saw her at 1.30am when she gave her a drink of water, and then her and her partner Jake Gliddon awoke to find the tot missing – sparking a frantic search.

Cleo's disappearance sent shockwaves through the community in Australia.

The police were called around three hours after she was found to be missing as the family had hoped the girl was just hiding nearby – searching the area with other campers.

Police were searching rugged terrain near the remote campsite for the missing girl and said they had "grave concerns for Cleo’s safety".

Authorities previously also offered a $1m reward for information leading to Cleo’s location.

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