Four-year-old Cleo Smith, who went missing from a campsite in Western Australia more than two weeks ago, has been found alive and well, police said on Wednesday.
WA Police said they found Cleo in a house in Carnarvon at 1am on Wednesday and a local man had been taken into custody.
Deputy Commissioner Col Blanch said police broke their way into the locked house and found the girl in one of the rooms.
“It’s my privilege to announce that in the early hours of this morning, the Western Australia police force rescued Cleo Smith,” he said. “Cleo is alive and well.
“One of the officers picked her up into his arms and asked her ‘what’s your name?’ She said: ‘My name is Cleo’.”
Cleo was reunited with her parents a short time later, Mr Blanch said.
“This is the outcome we all hoped and prayed for.”
The country’s leaders were quick to express their joy at the news and to thank the police and others who had searched for Cleo over two harrowing weeks.
The prime minister, Scott Morrison, said on Twitter it was "wonderful, relieving news".
“Our prayers answered. Thank you to the many police officers involved in finding Cleo and supporting her family.”
The opposition leader, Anthony Albanese, said it was "such happy news".
“To all those who tirelessly searched for this little girl, you deserve our thanks.”
Mr Blanch said the outcome was down to “some incredible police work”.
“I want to thank Cleo’s parents, the Western Australian community and the many volunteers.
"And of course, I want to thank my colleagues in the Western Australia Police Force. "
He said the man in custody was being questioned by detectives.
“We’ll have more to say on the rescue of Cleo as the day unfolds,” Mr Blanch said.
“For now: welcome home, Cleo.” – Guardian