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Carnarvon people ‘heartbroken’ by Cleo’s disappearance

A neighbour of the family of missing four-year-old Cleo Smith has pleaded for the “sweet little girl” to be returned home, as the Carnarvon community remains “heartbroken” by her disappearance.

Police believe the hazel-eyed youngster was snatched from her tent at the Blowholes camp site on Saturday and are now calling for anyone within a 1000km radius of the site who may have vision of Cleo to get in touch.

Carnarvon resident Gwen Cinch lives next door to the little girl’s stepdad Jake Gliddon and said the horrible situation was a “mother’s worst nightmare”.

She said Mr Gliddon and mum Ellie were “lovely people” who kept to themselves but were always friendly to chat to over the fence.

“They’re wonderful parents and great neighbours,” she said.

“Cleo was always a very happy kid when I saw her.

She was glued to her mum’s hip, always by her side.

Now Ms Cinch says she can’t help but cry when she sees Cleo’s picture or reads her name.

“It’s so heartbreaking … a mother’s worst nightmare,” she said.

“We all just want her back safe.

“If someone has her, please take care of her, please bring her back to us.”

Ms Cinch’s plea comes a day after Premier Mark McGowan announced a $1 million reward for Cleo’s return was on offer in the hopes of bringing her home or arresting those involved in her disappearance.

One of Ms Smith’s neighbours, who knew the family but did not wish to be named, said the incident had devastated the small community.

“For something like that to happen at the Blowholes is just unheard of,” he said.

“I grew up here all my life and it was so safe.

It’s absolutely rocked the community.

The ongoing heartache in the town has seen Cleo’s school St Mary’s Star of the Sea Catholic School cancel tonight’s “Neon Disco”, which was set to be a night of fun for students from kindergarten to Year 6.

Her school said in a statement mental health professionals were on site this week to help anyone “distressed” by Cleo’s disappearance.

“The school community is praying for Cleo and her family,” they said.

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