The man charged with abducting Cleo Smith, sparking a desperate search for the little girl in the remote outback, will appear in court on Monday.
Terence Darrell Kelly was dramatically arrested in the tiny coastal town of Carnarvon, in Western Australia, 18 days after Cleo vanished from the tent she was sleeping in with her parents.
All eyes will be on a the local courthouse in Carnarvon, which has a tiny population of just 4,426, on Monday as Kelly makes his first appearance via video link from Casuarina Prison – a maximum-security facility in Perth.
The last time Kelly was seen publicly he was barefoot and wearing a long-sleeved white shirt. He was shackled as special operations group officers escorted him onto the plane at Carnarvon Airport before flying him to WA’s capital.
The local faced Carnarvon Magistrates Court late on November 5 charged with two offences, including one count of forcibly taking a child aged under 16. He is yet to enter a plea.
Shortly after his arrest social media posts revealed photos of Kelly holding two Bratz toy dolls, while another picture showed a room full of toy dolls.
Kelly’s relatives revealed he was called a “little princess” during his upbringing. It was widely reported his guardian spoiled him as a child, which led to friends and family in the community referring to him by the nickname.
Cleo was allegedly taken from the family tent while camping at Quobba Blowholes on October 16.
She was rescued from Kelly’s locked house in Carnarvon in the early hours of November 3 after detectives forced their way in. Cleo was alone in the home at the time while Kelly had been arrested nearby an hour or two earlier.
Several items were seized from his home including a doll, colouring pencils and a plastic container.
Kelly’s home was just a short seven-minute drive from Cleo’s family house.
In the days after she was rescued Cleo’s mum Ellie Smith and stepdad Jake Gliddon praised the officers who helped find their little girl.
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank all those involved in the rescue of our daughter Cleo Smith,” A statement from the family read.
“In particular, we would like to thank WA Police, all those involved in the initial search, the Carnarvon community, local businesses and of course our family and friends.”
WA Police were honoured at a ceremony in Perth earlier this week.
All 140 members of the taskforce that helped bring Cleo home were lauded at the dinner hosted by WA Premier Mark McGowan and Governor Kim Beazley.
Among those in attendance were the police who found Cleo – Detective Senior Sergeant Cameron Blaine, Detective Senior Sergeant Jason Hutchinson and Detective Senior Constables Kurt Ford and Drew Masterson.
Cleo’s disappearance caught international attention and prompted a nationwide search.
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