Cleo Smith's rescue gives Madeleine McCann's parents 'hope'

Madeleine McCann's parents react to Cleo news: 'HOPE'

·4-min read

The disappearance of Cleo Smith has not only captivated Australia but also the rest of the world and has reportedly given one family hope their daughter is found.

On Wednesday morning, police broke into a Carnarvon home and rescued four-year-old Cleo, after she disappeared on October 16 at the Blowholes campsite.

While Cleo was missing, some comparisons have been drawn between her case and the case of Madeleine McCann, with some international outlets saying she was dubbed "Australia's Maddie".

Madeleine vanished from her holiday apartment in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz in 2007 and despite efforts, she remains missing.

Comparisons were made between the cases of Cleo Smith and Madeleine McCann. Source: AAP
Comparisons were made between the cases of Cleo Smith and Madeleine McCann. Source: AAP

A source told The Sun, Kate and Gerry McCann, had been following Cleo's case and were "willing" for her safe return.

Cleo being rescued has reportedly given Madeleine's parents hope.

"Kidnapped children can be found, this case is proof and gives Kate and Gerry and all those other families of missing people hope," the source said.

“They never stop hoping for that happy and positive news."

The source also told The Sun the McCanns are thankful Cleo was found alive and they "share her parents' joy and relief at the outcome".

Madeleine was just three-years-old when she was last seen. She would now be 18-years-old.

Pictured is Kate and Gerry McCann, the parents of Madeleine McCann.
The news of Cleo Smith's safe return reportedly gives Kate and Gerry McCann, the parents of Madeleine McCann, hope. Source: PA Wire

The parents of both girls have also been subject to similar treatment.

In the just over two weeks Cleo was missing, there were reports people were abusing mother Ellie Smith and step father Jake Gliddon online.

The abuse came despite police saying multiple times they were not suspects in the case, with online remarks widely condemned by police and even WA Premier Mark McGowan.

In the years since Madeleine disappeared, there have been theories suggesting her parents were somehow involved.

In 2017, Mr and Ms McCann said they were still facing online abuse, The Independent reported.

Online abuse was directed at Cleo's mother Ellie Smith and her partner Jake Gliddon. Source: AAP Image
Online abuse was directed at Cleo's mother Ellie Smith and her partner Jake Gliddon. Source: AAP Image

More work to be done after 'remarkable' rescue

Speaking to Yahoo News Australia, Associate Professor of Criminology and forensic anthropologist at the University of Newcastle Dr Xanthé Mallet said Cleo being found alive was unexpected and remarkable.

“This is just remarkable stuff to be honest with you, after 19 days I did not expect this outcome,” she said.

“This is once in a million, once in a million.

“We see child abductions all the time and everyone was concerned it was going to be the next William Tyrrell.”

While Cleo has now been reunited with her family and a 36-year-old man is in custody, detectives still have work ahead of them.

On Wednesday, Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said the 140-strong taskforce investigating Cleo's disappearance would continue its work.

In this image made from a video released by Western Australia Police, a police officer carries  rescued girl Cleo Smith in Carnarvon, Australia Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021.
Police smashed their way into a suburban house on Wednesday and rescued the girl whose disappearance from her family's camping tent on Australia's remote west coast more than two weeks ago both horrified and captivated the nation. Source: Western Australia Police via AP

"We will be working through this for the next week or two at least," he told reporters in Carnarvon.

"There's much more work yet to be done. But I'm just the proudest police commissioner in the world at the moment."

The 36-year-old man who is a suspect in Cleo's disappearance has no connection to Cleo or her family and he was not at the home when Cleo was found by police.

The man is also not on a list of known sex offenders in Carnarvon.

Cleo was examined in hospital and found to be in good physical health. 

Police shared a photograph of her smiling and waving from her hospital bed after reuniting with her mother Ellie Smith and Ms Smith's partner, Jake Gliddon.

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