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Cleo Smith detectives honoured at Government House awards ceremony

The heroes who helped to find missing WA girl Cleo Smith are being celebrated at a special dinner hosted by Premier Mark McGowan and Governor Kim Beazley on Tuesday night.

Cleo’s parents have made the trip to Perth from Carnarvon to say a special thank-you to the officers from Taskforce Rodia, the name given to the operation to find their missing four-year-old girl.

Officers pulled off the miracle rescue of Cleo 18 days after she went missing from the Blowholes Campground in WA’s north – disappearance that made international headlines.

Cleo’s mum Ellie Smith and stepdad Jake Gliddon arrived at Government House around 5pm local time, ahead of a 140-strong group of officers, many of whom will be presented with a medal honouring their painstaking work.

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Some of their names are now very familiar to Australians, who followed the investigation with bated breath to see if police could find little Cleo.

Left, Ellie Smith and Jake Gliddon at Government House on Tuesday night. Right: Cleo Smith. Credit: 7NEWS

Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde, the head of Taskforce Rodia, is one of those who became a familiar face, keeping the public updated on a daily basis.

Another is Detective Senior Sergeant Cameron Blaine, the man who, along with three other officers, found Cleo at a house not far from her own family home.

Police bodycam vision of Blaine carrying little Cleo out of the house went global.

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Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde wass the man in charge of Taskforce Rodia, the operation to find Cleo.
Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde wass the man in charge of Taskforce Rodia, the operation to find Cleo. Credit: 7NEWS/Flashpoint
Senior sergeant Cameron Blaine talks about the moment he and three other officers found Cleo Smith.
Senior sergeant Cameron Blaine talks about the moment he and three other officers found Cleo Smith. Credit: 7NEWS

The Taskforce Rodia crew will be joined by WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson and a very proud Deputy Commissioner, Col Blanch, who spoke to 7NEWS ahead of the ceremony.

“What a great day to recognise the officers who worked so hard on the job,” he said.

Deputy Commissioner Col Blanch spoke to 7NEWS ahead of the Government House function.
Deputy Commissioner Col Blanch spoke to 7NEWS ahead of the Government House function. Credit: 7NEWS

“All the guys and girls, the analysts, the specialists, the officers, the detectives – it’s a team effort, it’s not just one person, it’s everyone.”

While police and Cleo’s parents celebrate the incredible work that went into locating Cleo, it’s not the end of the story.

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The next chapter will be written next week when Cleo’s accused abductor, Terence Kelly, is due to appear in court.

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