Cleo Smith search: Up to 20 registered sex offenders living in Carnarvon
There are almost 20 registered sex offenders living in the Carnarvon area, police investigating the mysterious disappearance of Cleo Smith have revealed.
Deputy police commissioner Darryl Gaunt made the alarming admission this morning, telling 6PR officers had followed up with the long list of local sex offenders throughout the five-day long investigation.
“Part of the investigative strategies have included reaching them and making inquiries into their whereabouts and movements and at this point in time we’re very comfortable where we sit with those inquiries,” he said.
Mr Gaunt said the search for little Cleo was growing more grim by the hour, conceding “the more time goes on the less chances we’ll find Cleo alive”.
He also said no one was being ruled out by police, including Cleo’s mum and step-dad Ellie Smith and Jake Gliddon, or her biological father Daniel Staines — but said investigators were not currently “looking at the parents in that nature”.
It comes after Mr Gaunt revealed earlier this morning that no members of the public who’d been staying at the Blowholes campsite in the hours before Cleo vanished without a trace from her family’s tent on Saturday morning had seen the little girl.
“We do have other evidence that we don’t disclose publicly that reassures us that she was there. So there’s nothing to infer that she wasn’t there at this stage,” he said.
Cleo disappeared between 1.30am and 6am on Saturday morning, along with her red and grey sleeping bag.
Several shacks near the Blowholes, which house long-term residents, have been searched during the extensive land, sea and air operation. It is expected as investigators will revisit the cabins for clues today or tomorrow as they re-trace their steps.
Four officers from the mounted police section are today continuing their 5km grid search of the rugged terrain near the Blowholes, South of Blowholes Road.
SES volunteers and members of the Pilbara Regiment Army Reserve are also in the midst of another land search, north of of Blowholes Road.
Campers who were staying at the tourist spot around the time Cleo vanished have also been tracked and traced by police.
Mr Gaunt this morning said police had received information from “around the world” aimed at helping investigators find Cleo, and that police hadn’t ruled out” reports from campers who said they’d heard the sound of screeching tyres in the early hours of Saturday morning.
“We haven’t ruled it out — it is a little bit unsubstantiated, but we haven’t ruled it out,” he said.“We have a lot of information from people within or who have been in the area.
“They have reported certain noises or activities — most have been explained.”
The only road accessing the Blowholes and campsite has today been blocked off by SES volunteers, who were seen ejecting tourists who’d pulled over at at the popular spot this morning.
A concrete bollard was put up across the sealed road after police who’d been manning the street since Saturday returned to Geraldton today.
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