Cleo Smith: Trolls Slammed Over ‘Violent Accusations’ About Her Parents After WA Girl Was Found Alive
Social media users around the world have criticized trolls who made “vile accusations” about Cleo Smith’s parents after the missing toddler was found alive.
Western Australian police officers found the missing four-year-old girl at 1am on Wednesday at a home in Carnarvon, 18 days after she disappeared.
A 36-year-old man with no family connection has been arrested.
The news sparked joy worldwide – leading news bulletins in the United States and the UK – after millions hoped and prayed that the four-year-old girl would be found safe.
But for many, the cheers of Cleo’s discovery are mixed with burning anger at the atrocities the toddler’s devastated parents, Ellie and Jake, were subjected to online.
Cleo Smith (pictured) was miraculously found alive in a home in Carnavon on Wednesday, marking the end of a three-week police search to find the missing four-year-old girl
Since Cleo disappeared from her family’s campsite on Oct. 16, social media sleuths have filled online forums with conspiracy theories falsely claiming the girl’s parents were involved — despite detectives making it clear early on that they weren’t being taken as suspects. treated.
Within minutes of the news that she had been found Wednesday, people flocked online to sue those who pointed the finger at Cleo’s mother Ellie Smith and stepfather Jake Gliddon – and demanded that they apologize to the parents.
‘What great news about Cleo Smith! It’s really all that matters today,” Nine News journalist Libby-Jane Charleston tweeted.
“Let’s hope the conspiracy theorists who have posted despicable accusations against her parents now issue a public apology.”
Another man said, ‘I wonder what all the sick trolls that have been pestering her parents on the internet are doing right now? I hope to be called out. Deleting messages at a rapid pace is my guess.’
A third added: “To all the despicable people who trolled Cleo Smith’s parents during the most horrific period of their lives, now apologize publicly.”
A 36-year-old man was arrested in the house (pictured) and is being questioned by detectives
Cleo’s parents Ellie and Jake (pictured) have been the target of vicious trolls since their daughter disappeared on October 16
Another user said: ‘It would be nice if all the people and the trolls who sent a hateful word and made accusations that [Cleo’s] parents planned the disappearance to be responsible for their actions.’
One person said he shared an earlier post from the Twitter group Sleuth United criticizing the media interview of Ms Smith and Mr Gliddon advocating for their little girl’s safe return. They criticized the “hateful” trolls for “merely inflicting suffering” on the poor parents while “living every parent’s nightmare.”
“Congratulations on doing the thing that made an excruciating decision worse,” they continued.
“We will enjoy the public apology, that is the only decent course of action.”
Natasha Russell, a close friend of Cleo’s family, was among those who unleashed callous keyboard warriors shortly after the little girl was found.
She said the case should remind internet detectives that they are not aware of crucial details about investigations to form a judgment.
“To those trolls and people who thought the worst of two people you didn’t know who went through some real hell,” she wrote Wednesday morning.
People from around the world have appealed to heartless trolls who accused the devastated parents of being involved in their daughter’s disappearance to apologize.
A woman from Scandinavia sent her love to Cleo’s family as they recover from their horrific ordeal
A woman called on those who criticized the family to apologize publicly to the little girl’s parents
Social media users criticized keyboard warriors for increasing parental stress while living every parent’s worst nightmare
“I hope the news that Cleo is home and safe with her family makes you realize that if you don’t have anything nice to say, [say] nothing at all because you don’t know ***.’
Authorities also spoke of the unwarranted treatment Ms Smith and Mr Gliddon have received over the past three weeks as they spoke to the media on Wednesday.
In a speech on Sunrise, Deputy Commissioner Col Blanch reminded “internet detectives” that cracking a case was best left to professionals.
“We warned early on about internet detectives. The police did their job and searched it,” Deputy Commissioner Blanch said.
“I think what happened here today is a strong memory, don’t be too quick to judge.”
WA Prime Minister Mark McGowan released a similar message just two days before the missing toddler was found, thrashing trolls for their behavior.
“I just don’t understand why all these people get so much courage when they get a keyboard and say the most horrible and shocking things they would never say otherwise, so I urged them to stop,” he said Monday.
Family friend Natasha Russell said the case should remind internet detectives to refrain from wild speculation online. Cleo is seen with her mother Ellie Smith.
“I urge people to return to a sense of decency and courtesy towards each other, especially those who are suffering.”
Cleo disappeared from her family’s tent between 1:30 and 6:30 a.m. on October 16, while her parents and sister were sleeping nearby.
Her disappearance sparked a widespread search and major police investigation, with the state government offering a $1 million reward for information leading to her location.
Following a tip, police raided a house in Carnavon on Wednesday – just 73.7 km south of the Blowholes site where she went missing – raising the possibility that she had been right under police’s noses for the past three weeks. .
Even creepier, the property is just a seven minute drive from where the toddler’s family lives in the small coastal village in Western Australia.
Cleo was reunited with her family a short time later and is now being cared for in the hospital.
MISSING CLEO – EARLY SEARCH TIMELINE
Around 6am: Ellie Smith wakes up and realizes Cleo and her sleeping bag are missing.
6:23 a.m.: Ellie calls 000 to report her oldest daughter missing as she continues to search the campground.
6.30am: The first two officers are dispatched from Carnarvon Police Station. They travel to Blowholes as a priority, with sirens and lights.
6.41 am: A second police car with two more officers is sent to Blowholes, also with lights and sirens.
7.10 am: The first police car arrives. The second is just minutes behind.
7:26 am: Police on site establish a protected forensic area that has been cordoned off to the public around the family tent where Cleo was last seen.
7:33 a.m.: A drone operator is called in to search from the air.
7:44 a.m.: A third police car is sent to the Blowholes.
8 a.m.: Family and friends of Cleo’s parents begin to arrive to help with the search on the ground.
Another group of detectives briefly search Cleo’s house to make sure she’s not there. They then go to Blowholes and start stopping cars entering and exiting the area.
8.09 am: A helicopter from a local company arrived at the scene and started searching as pOlice requests an SES team to attend the Blowholes quest.
8.24 am: Police Airwing and volunteer sea searchers are called in to assist in the search.
8.34am: Roadblocks are erected at the entrance to Blowholes as detectives gather the names, registration details and addresses of people coming and going. Police are looking for cars.
9:25 a.m.: Nine SES personnel arrive at the Blowholes to assist in the search.
9:30 a.m.: Detectives sit down with an ailing Ellie and stay by her side for the rest of the day while other search teams hunt for Cleo.
11 a.m.: Homicide detectives from the Major Crime Division are called in and begin traveling from Perth to assist in the search.
1 p.m.: More detectives and search experts are flown in from Perth.
3:00 PM: Officers and search experts arrive in Carnarvon to offer their expertise.