Cleo Smith found: Neighbors describe their shock over accusations against ‘quiet, strange’ man

Neighbors of the man arrested after the dramatic rescue of Cleo Smith were amazed to learn that the little girl’s alleged abductor was one of Carnarvon’s own.

Much remains a mystery about the 36-year-old, where residents of Tonkin Crescent – where Cleo was found – describe him as a “very quiet” man who “kept to himself”.

Everyone on the street said they knew the man.

But everyone was shocked to discover that he allegedly had a four-year-old girl locked inside a bedroom in his house.

In this photo made from a video released by Western Australia Police, a police officer carries the rescued girl Cleo Smith in Carnarvon, Australia on Wednesday, November 3, 2021. Police smashed their way into a suburban house on Wednesday and rescued the girl if the disappearance from her family camping tent on Australia's distant west coast more than two weeks ago both terrified and captivated the nation.  (Western Australia Police via AP)
Camera iconCleo Smith moments after she was rescued by police. Credit: AP

Carnarvon resident Rennee Turner recently completed a three-month training course with the man, saying she bumped into him in the store a few days ago.

“He’s a very quiet guy, a bit of a strange ball … certainly would not have chosen him … it has completely derailed me.

“I had heard the whisper … I was thinking in a way that the police might have an idea of ​​what was going on, because I have never seen such a massive amount of officers here in such a long time.

ADDING LOCATION - In this image provided by Western Australian Police, four-year-old Cleo Smith is waving while sitting on a hospital bed on Wednesday, November 3, 2021 in Carnarvon, Western Australia.  Police smashed their way into a suburban house on Wednesday, rescuing Cleo if the disappearance from her family's camping tent on Australia's remote west coast more than two weeks ago both terrified and captivated the nation.  The seal from Western Australia Police is seen at the top left.  (Western Australia Police via AP)
Camera iconCleo Smith in the hospital after being returned to his parents. Credit: WA politi/AP

“I simply could not be happier with the family, and more importantly, Cleo is home.”

Pricilla Milly-Milly has lived across the street for years, saying the man “never let anyone into his house”.

She said the last time she saw him was at Bunnings last week.

“He was sitting in the car and he just kept staring at me,” she said.

Milly-Milly said the person who abducted Cleo “should be punished.”

“Why should he do such a thing? It’s so stupid,” she said.

A woman who told The West Australian that the man was her nephew and said it was nerve-wracking to know he had allegedly abducted Cleo.

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