Cleo Smith Detectives Honored at Government House Awards Ceremony

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The heroes who helped find missing WA’s daughter Cleo Smith are celebrated at a special dinner hosted by Premier Mark McGowan and Governor Kim Beazley on Tuesday evening.

Cleo’s parents traveled to Perth from Carnarvon to especially thank the officers of Taskforce Rodia, the name given to the operation to find their missing four-year-old girl.

Officers successfully rescued Cleo’s miracle 18 days after her disappearance from Blowholes Campground in upstate Washington – a disappearance that made international headlines.

Cleo’s mother Ellie Smith and stepfather Jake Gliddon arrived at Government House around 5 p.m. local time in front of a group of 140 officers, many of whom will receive a medal honoring their painstaking work.

Some of their names are now very familiar to Australians, who have been eagerly following the investigation to see if the police can locate little Cleo.

Cleo’s mom, Ellie (in red dress) and stepdad Jake (in white shirt). Credit: 7NEWS
Cleo Smith in hospital after being rescued by police.
Cleo Smith in hospital after being rescued by police. Credit: Washington State Police

Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde, head of the Rodia Task Force, is one of those who has become a familiar face, keeping the public in the know on a daily basis.

Another is Senior Detective Sergeant Cameron Blaine, the man who, along with three other officers, found Cleo in a house not far from his own family home.

The police body camera view of Blaine carrying little Cleo out of the house has gone global.

Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde was the man in charge of Task Force Rodia, the operation to find Cleo.
Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde was the man in charge of Task Force Rodia, the operation to find Cleo. Credit: 7NEWS / Flashpoint
Images captured on a police body camera revealed Cleo Smith's emotional rescue.
Images captured on a police body camera revealed Cleo Smith’s emotional rescue. Credit: Washington State Police

The Rodia Task Force team will be joined by WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson and a very proud Deputy Commissioner Col. Blanch, who spoke to 7NEWS ahead of the ceremony.

“What a great day to recognize the officers who worked so hard at work,” he said.

Deputy Commissioner Col Blanch spoke to 7NEWS prior to the Government House function.
Deputy Commissioner Col Blanch spoke to 7NEWS prior to the Government House function. Credit: 7NEWS

“All the guys and girls, analysts, specialists, officers, detectives – it’s teamwork, it’s not just one person, it’s everyone.”

As the police and Cleo’s parents celebrate the incredible work they’ve done to locate Cleo, that’s not the end of the story.

The next chapter will be written next week when Cleo’s accused kidnapper Terence Kelly is due in court.


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