Cleo Smith reminds Australia of William Tyrrell, Daniel Morcombe and Azaria Chamberlain | #childabductors


From the mystery of the Beaumont siblings to the disappearance of William Tyrrell and the murder of Daniel Morcombe, Australians are not used to the story of missing children ending like this. 

The discovery of Cleo Smith alive and well in Carnarvon on Wednesday morning, 18 days after she was last seen at a Western Australian campsite, is justly being described as a miracle.  

Millions watched with mounting fears after initial hopes the four-year-old had wandered off from her parents turned into an abduction investigation. 

Cleo was sleeping in her family’s tent at the Blowholes camping ground 75km north of Carnarvon, in the state’s north-west, when she was last seen in her family’s tent on October 16 about 1.30am.  

The discovery of Cleo Smith alive and well in Carnarvon on Wednesday morning, 18 days after she was last seen at a Western Australian campsite, is justly being described as a miracle

From the mystery of the Beaumont siblings to the disappearance of William Tyrrell (pictured) and the murder of Daniel Morcombe, Australians are not used to the story of missing children ending like this

From the mystery of the Beaumont siblings to the disappearance of William Tyrrell (pictured) and the murder of Daniel Morcombe, Australians are not used to the story of missing children ending like this

Daniel Morcombe (pictured) disappeared from a bus stop on Queensland's Sunshine Coast on December 7, 2003. Paedophile Brett Peter Cowan was charged the 13-year-old's murder in 2011 and his remains found in the Glass House Mountains

Daniel Morcombe (pictured) disappeared from a bus stop on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast on December 7, 2003. Paedophile Brett Peter Cowan was charged the 13-year-old’s murder in 2011 and his remains found in the Glass House Mountains

Australia has a long history of children disappearing in mysterious and sinister circumstances but for high-profile cases such as Cleo’s this ending seems unprecedented.  

Million-dollar rewards for information like that offered to find Cleo have remained unclaimed and investigations of a similar scale have proved fruitless.

The country’s landscape has sometimes hampered searches for missing children, with wide open spaces and natural dangers providing challenges for those involved.

While child abductions are rare and misadventure is common, sexual predators have plenty of room to operate and cover in which to hide. 

Some of the most infamous disappearances of children in Australian history have only ever been partly resolved.  

Azaria Chamberlain made worldwide headlines when the nine-week-old was snatched by a dingo during a family trip to Uluru in the Northern Territory on August 17, 1980.

Her mother Lindy was wrongly convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison before being released after the chance discovery of an item of Azaria’s clothing near a dingo lair in 1986.

The infant’s body has never been discovered and likely never will be.

The fate of the three Beaumont siblings, Jane, Arnna and Grant, aged nine, seven and four respectively, has haunted the nation for almost 56 years.

The three children disappeared from Glenelg Beach near Adelaide on Australia Day, 1966 and no trace of them has been found since.

Azaria Chamberlain made worldwide headlines when the nine-year-old was snatched by a dingo during a family trip to Uluru in the Northern Territory on August 17, 1980. Her  mother Lindy was wrongly convicted of murder and Azaria's body has never been found

Azaria Chamberlain made worldwide headlines when the nine-year-old was snatched by a dingo during a family trip to Uluru in the Northern Territory on August 17, 1980. Her  mother Lindy was wrongly convicted of murder and Azaria’s body has never been found

The fate of the three Beaumont siblings, Jane, Arnna and Grant, aged nine, seven and four respectively, has haunted the nation for almost 56 years. The children disappeared from Glenelg Beach near Adelaide in 1966 and no trace of them has been found since

The fate of the three Beaumont siblings, Jane, Arnna and Grant, aged nine, seven and four respectively, has haunted the nation for almost 56 years. The children disappeared from Glenelg Beach near Adelaide in 1966 and no trace of them has been found since

Several witnesses saw the trio in the company of a thin-faced, tanned, tall man aged in his mid-30s but he has never been located by police. 

Supposed new leads have emerged over the decades but a $1million reward for information offered by the South Australian government in 2018 has not solved the mystery.

Similarly baffling is the case of toddler William Tyrrell who was last seen at his foster grandmother’s house at Kendall on the New South Wales mid-north coast on June 26, 2014 in his distinctive Spider-Man suit. 

Like Cleo, it was initially hoped William might have wandered off into bushland but police soon moved onto the theory the little boy had been abducted. 

And like the Beaumont children, a $1million reward offered for the recovery of the three-year-old has led to no breakthroughs in the investigation. 

The parents of murdered teenager Daniel Morcombe had described a television interview with Cleo Smith's mother Ellie Smith and stepfather Jake Gliddon (pictured) as 'haunting'

The parents of murdered teenager Daniel Morcombe had described a television interview with Cleo Smith’s mother Ellie Smith and stepfather Jake Gliddon (pictured) as ‘haunting’

Public appeals for information in Willliam’s case were made difficult in the early stages of the inquiry because neither his birth parents nor foster family could be identified.

When 13-year-old Daniel Morcombe disappeared from a bus stop on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast on December 7, 2003 his parents’ faces became as recognisable as the missing boy.

Bruce and Denise Morcombe were relentless in their pursuit for information that would lead to Daniel’s return or his kidnapper’s capture, making public appeals for help for years. 

The Morcombes’ tireless campaigning and an undercover police sting operation led to the arrest of paedophile Brett Peter Cowan in August 2011.

Bruce and Denise Morcombe were relentless in their pursuit for information that would lead to son Daniel's return or his kidnapper's capture, making public appeals for help for years

Bruce and Denise Morcombe were relentless in their pursuit for information that would lead to son Daniel’s return or his kidnapper’s capture, making public appeals for help for years

Daniel Morcombe's remains were found in the Glass House Mountains in 2011 and three years later Brett Peter Cowan (pictured) was convicted of his murder, having pleaded not guilty

Daniel Morcombe’s remains were found in the Glass House Mountains in 2011 and three years later Brett Peter Cowan (pictured) was convicted of his murder, having pleaded not guilty

Daniel’s remains were subsequently found in the Glass House Mountains later the same month and three years later Cowan was convicted of his murder, having pleaded not guilty.

The Morcombes had described a television interview with Cleo’s mother Ellie Smith and stepfather Jake Gliddon as ‘haunting’ and said they had been reliving their own endlessly traumatic experience.

‘That was us,’ Mr Morcombe told The West newspaper on October 21.

‘Honestly it was an immediate flashback. We could feel their emotion as they were speaking because we have walked in their shoes. We have sat in that chair.’

Mr Morcombe said watching their interview with Ms Smith and Mr Gliddon made their own ordeal ‘feel like yesterday’.

He and Mrs Morcombe had closely followed developments in Cleo’s case and were praying for her to be found safely.

‘You just cannot help but think the worst I suppose,’ Mr Morcombe said. ‘Our family is thinking of them and so is the rest of Australia.

The mother of nine-year-old Samantha Knight (pictured) was never reunited with her daughter, who disappeared from Bondi in Sydney's eastern suburbs on August 19, 1986

The mother of nine-year-old Samantha Knight (pictured) was never reunited with her daughter, who disappeared from Bondi in Sydney’s eastern suburbs on August 19, 1986

Serial sex offender Michael Guider was charged with Samantha Kinght's murder in 2001 and pleaded guilty to her manslaughter later that year. Guider is pictured leaving prison in 2019

Serial sex offender Michael Guider was charged with Samantha Kinght’s murder in 2001 and pleaded guilty to her manslaughter later that year. Guider is pictured leaving prison in 2019

‘We all hope that Cleo is found healthy and well. We genuinely wish and pray for a positive result.’

The Morcombes established a foundation to educate children about personal safety and raise awareness of the dangers of predatory criminals.

The mother of nine-year-old Samantha Knight was never reunited with her daughter, who disappeared from Bondi in Sydney’s eastern suburbs on August 19, 1986.

Serial sex offender Michael Guider was charged with Samantha’s murder in 2001 and pleaded guilty to her manslaughter later that year. 

Guider, who drugged and molested his many victims, claimed he had accidentally given Samantha an overdose of sleeping pills.

He has given various versions of what he did with Samantha’s body and her remains have not been found 35 years after she disappeared. 

Just last month there were scenes of jubilation when three-year-old Anthony 'AJ' Elfalak was found four days after being reported missing from his home at Putty in the NSW Hunter Valley

Just last month there were scenes of jubilation when three-year-old Anthony ‘AJ’ Elfalak was found four days after being reported missing from his home at Putty in the NSW Hunter Valley

Just two months ago there were scenes of jubilation when Anthony ‘AJ’ Elfalak was found three days after being reported missing from his home at Putty in the NSW Hunter Valley.

AJ’s family feared the three-year-old had been abducted on September 3 and celebrated wildly when he was located drinking water from a creek near their rural property.

His parents, Kelly and Anthony Elfalak, believed AJ had been ‘saved by an angel’ and vowed to ‘pray for a miracle’ for Cleo Smith. 

‘We can’t believe it, we keep thinking ”not again”,’ Ms Elfalak told Daily Mail Australia on October 18 of Cleo’s disappearance. 

‘The whole nation needs to rally and pray for another miracle. I’m hoping to God we find her very soon like AJ.’



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