Police have confirmed more charges could be coming in the Cleo Smith case, but have ruled out one theory.
Further charges could be laid over the alleged abduction of Cleo Smith, but Western Australia’s deputy police commissioner has ruled out claims that a “mystery woman” is being investigated.
Detective Senior Sergeant Cameron Blaine said this week that police were trying to “ascertain whether there was anyone else involved” in the four-year-old girl’s alleged kidnapping.
Deputy Police Commissioner Col Blanch was asked on Wednesday about reports that a woman was under investigation, as rumours continued to swirl that accused man Terence Darrell Kelly had an accomplice.
“I can rule that one out,” Mr Blanch told reporters.
Asked if anyone else knew about Cleo’s alleged abduction, he said: “That’s all part of the investigation at the moment … my comment is I’m making no comment on the investigation.”
Pressed further about whether police had now ruled out a second person being involved, Mr Blanch said: “The investigation is ongoing — that’s all I’ll say at this time.”
Mr Blanch said he had deliberately stepped away from the investigation.
“I’ve let the Task Force Rodia team conduct their investigation. As I said earlier, a man has been charged,” he said.
“It’s before the courts. The less I say about it, the better it is to have a fair and transparent trial.”
Cleo vanished from her family’s tent while camping at Quobba Blowholes on October 16 and was rescued 18 days later from a Carnarvon house.
Earlier, Mr Blanch told 6PR radio that the justice system had to be allowed to run its course.
Asked whether further charges were expected, he said that that was part of the investigation process.
“That’s not something that I’ve been briefed on at the moment, but I would never say never because there is a long way to go about piecing together what had happened,” he said.
Mr Blanch warned people should not speculate about the case, rather they should allow the court process to run.
“We certainly had so much help from the community, certainly from the media,” he said.
“We all celebrated together as a community, as a state, but the police are back at work doing an investigation.
“We’ve really got to be careful about what we say because people are before the courts and we just have to make sure that we give those charged people in both (Task Force) Ravello (the Nick Martin murder case) and (Task Force) Rodia (Cleo’s abduction case) a fair hearing.”
Mr Blanch said both cases were now matters for the Director of Public Prosecutions and the courts.
“We’re really there as investigators, getting all the evidence together, so as far as what the story will be, that will be for the court and not for police to air in public at this point,” he said.
Mr Blanch also revealed Cleo, her family and police had received gifts, foods and notes of well wishes from the community, which he described as a “feel good moment” for everyone.
He also said Cleo’s family were “just happy to be a family”.
“They’re happy to be back together and they are relishing in that time,” Mr Blanch said.
“They certainly have asked for their privacy and we can all understand why.
“Cleo is only four years old and it’s important she gets back to normal life, which is going to be very difficult.
“But certainly coming out of that 18 days of hell, the best thing is that they’re together and they’re a family.”
Mr Kelly, 36, has been charged with two offences, including one count of forcibly taking a child aged under 16. He is yet to enter a plea.
He will remain in a maximum-security prison in Perth until his next court appearance on December 6.
Police continue to guard Mr Kelly’s house while forensic officers gather evidence.
They are expected to remain at the scene for several more days.
Numerous items have already been collected from the house, including a mobile phone and a Bratz doll.
On Tuesday, forensic officers appeared to be examining a car in the driveway.
Source: News AU