Cleo Smith news — live: Kidnap suspect in hospital again as hard police grind credited for breakthrough – The Independent
Missing four-year-old Cleo Smith found ‘alive and well’ in Western Australia
The suspected kidnapper of four-year-old Cleo Smith has been treated in hospital for a second time amid reports he was “attacked” while in custody.
The 36-year-old man was detained by Western Australia Police after its officers found the four-year-old girl alive and well in a house in Carnarvon, 18 days after she disappeared from a remote campsite.
He has gone to hospital twice to receive treatment for injuries since his arrest, police said. One unconfirmed report said a fellow prisoner “beat him black and blue,” while another said the suspect had tried to self-harm.
Meanwhile, Cleo has been reunited with her parents. “Our family is whole again,” Ellie Smith, Cleo’s mother, wrote on Instagram as she shared the news.
The Australian prime minister Scott Morrison described the breakthrough as “a huge relief”.
“The fact that that nightmare has come to an end and our worst fears were not realised, is just a huge relief,” he added.
Seven News issues apology for wrongly identifying an Indigenous man
Seven West media issued an apology for wrongly identifying an Aboriginal man as the main suspect in the Cleo Smith abduction case.
Four-year-old Cleo Smith was reunited with her family on Wednesday.
Local reports said that around midday on Wednesday, 7NEWS.com.au published an article on their website with two images of a person they identified — incorrectly — as the 36-year-old Carnarvon man who was taken into custody by the West Australian Police in connection with Cleo’s abduction hours earlier.
The media platform had taken those images from Facebook.
However, just before midnight, Seven West published an apology online. The statement read: “Earlier on Wednesday 7NEWS wrongly showed images of a man that were incorrectly labelled as the person under arrest over the disappearance of Cleo Smith. These were removed promptly, but 7NEWS apologises for the error.”
The community members in Carnarvon pointed out their mistake on social media.
Pilbara-based First Nations broadcaster Ngaarda Media said that the wrongly accused man has contacted the police for this false information.
“A man who has been wrongly accused has been harassed online due to misinformation. Because people jump the gun when they look up Facebook, they put in [his name] straight away,” they posted.
Western Australia Deputy Police Commissioner Col Blanch said the suspected kidnapper of four-year-old Chloe Smith was “assisting” detectives — but it’s still unclear if he is fit to be interviewed amid reports he has been injured.
“He’s gone off to hospital again this morning,” Mr Blanch told Sunrise on 7 News.
“The important thing for police, if we’re going to interview someone about offences as serious as this … we will need them in a condition where they have had a rest, they’re in a good mental state, they’ve been fed.
“So, we’ve got to make sure we give them the best opportunity to answer questions and that’s to ensure that the court process is validated if we get to that point.”
Four-year-old Cleo Smith has spent her first night back with her family, after going missing for a total of 18 days.
Western Australia deputy police commissioner Col Blanch told the 2GB radio station: “(Cleo’s parents) had a small amount of hope but I’m pretty sure they thought they were never going to give her a cuddle again.”
“I’m pretty sure they all slept in the same room, just cuddling all night.”