What really happened to Cleo? The tell-all interview that gripped the nation

Feb 07, 2022
Cleo's parent's Ellie Smith and Jake Gliddon have provided new insight into how the alleged kidnapping unfolded. Source: Getty Images.

Cleo Smith’s parents have revealed disturbing details about the four-year-old’s 18 day alleged abduction ordeal in a tell-all interview with 60 Minutes, on Nine.

Cleo disappeared from her family’s tent at the Blowholes campsite in Macleod, north of Carnarvon, on October 16, 2021. Nearly three weeks later, police found the little girl alive in a locked house in Carnarvon around 1am, on November 3, 2021.

In the interview which aired on February 6, Ellie Smith and Jake Gliddon, Cleo’s parents, provided new insight into their ordeal and how their daughter was coping.  Although Cleo has not revealed much about her time, Ellie claimed the four-year-old “was scared.”

“She’s blocked out a lot as to what’s happened. She kind of went into survivor mode and pushed it very far away,” she said.

Despite her ordeal, Smith claims her daughter is “happy” and “bubbly” following the alleged abduction.

“Every day and night is different,” she said.

“She’s still different, and she always will be, but and that’s just our life now.”

Cleo’s parents will reportedly pocket $2 million for the exclusive tell-all interview. The staggering amount is believed to be one of the largest deals in Australian media history.

Nine’s director of news and current affairs, Darren Wick, said the network is “honoured” that Cleo Smith’s family chose to share their story with the Nine network.

“From a 60 Minutes story to other opportunities across Nine, we will continue to support Cleo and her family as they go through the court process, and we take our legal obligations around reporting on Cleo’s story extremely seriously,” he said.

Cleo’s disappearance and eventual rescue by hardworking investigators gripped the globe’s attention.

Upon her rescue, deputy police commissioner Col Blanch confirmed in a statement that Cleo was found “alive and well”.

“It’s my privilege to announce that in the early hours of this morning the Western Australia Police Force rescued Cleo Smith,” he said. “This is the outcome we all hoped and prayed for.”

A Western Australian man was later charged in relation to the alleged abduction of Cleo on November 4, 2021. The charges included one count of forcibly taking a child under 16. On January 24, the man pleaded guilty to the charges, and he will be sentenced on March 25, 2022.

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