Kelly, 36, was arrested following the youngster’s discovery at a house in the town. She had been missing for 18 days in a remote part of the state. Cleo disappeared from her family’s tent at a campsite on October 16, triggering a massive search. Neighbours, who described Kelly as a “very quiet” man who “kept to himself” reported that he had recently been spotted buying nappies. One resident said: “We didn’t click who…he was buying them for.”
Cleo has since been reunited with her parents, who made desperate pleas for her return. Her mother Ellie wrote on Instagram: “Our family is whole again.”
Authorities said Kelly had no connection to the Smith family.
Before being charged Kelly was taken to hospital with injuries that may have been the result of an assault by a fellow prisoner, or self-inflicted according to police.
He did not apply for bail and was not required to enter a plea at Carnarvon Magistrate’s Court. He has been remanded in custody until December 6.
His obsession with Bratz dolls was seen on social media sites where he posted pictures of himself with them.
He admitted in one post: “I love my dolls.”
The Australian authorities yesterday released an audio recording of the moment they found the abducted four-year-old in a locked house.
“We’ve got her, we’ve got her,” an officer is heard saying, before asking the child what her name is.
“My name is Cleo,” the child responds, to the audible joy of the officers who say, “Hello Cleo.”
Detective Sergeant Cameron Blaine, one of the officers who found her, said Cleo was alert and aware at the time she was rescued.
The lights had been on in the house and she had been playing with toys.
He said: “It was amazing to see her behave like a normal four-year-old child would.”
Police added that the Smith family would be counselled on the next steps in the probe.
Detectives said they had experts who would interview Cleo.
They cautioned that it had to be done very carefully and that it could take days before they were able to get any information from the youngster about her ordeal.
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