Cleo Smith reportedly told cops that while she was being detained at the home of her suspected kidnapper, a mystery woman brushed her hair and dressed her. Police are looking into the possibility that another individual was involved in her kidnapping.
The bombshell development came to light during delicate police interviews with the four-year-old, who was held captive for 18 days in a residence in Carnarvon, Western Australia’s northwest.
Terence Darrell Kelly, 36, is suspected of kidnapping Cleo and faces charges that include forcibly taking a child under the age of 16.
Cleo went missing on Oct. 16 while camping with her family at Blowholes Campground near Carnarvon. The girl had woken up around 1.30 a.m. that Saturday morning to ask her mother Ellie for a drink of water.
When Ellie woke up later at around 6 a.m., the tent zipper was open and Cleo and her sleeping bag were missing, leading authorities to immediately believe that Cleo had been abducted.
Local media reported that Cleo had been found in a house in Carnarvon, Australia, at around 1 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 3, ending an intensive two-and-a-half-week police search.
While police first indicated that no other suspects were being sought and that Kelly acted alone, the child has now told investigators that a woman would come to the residence to “look after her,” as Daily Mail reported.
According to sources close to the investigation, Cleo recalled a woman visiting Kelly’s home to help care for her by dressing her and brushing her hair while she was there.
A team of police has returned to Carnarvon to look into the possibility that someone else was involved, with forensic scientists searching Kelly’s home for evidence of another suspect.
Detective Senior Sergeant Cameron Blaine said, “The focus this week is for us to ascertain whether there was anyone else involved, that’s why we are still here.”
He also urged anyone who had contact with the suspects to inform the police.
“So, we just ask that if there was anyone that had any contact with Mr Kelly, whether you saw him, whether you met with him, whether you spoke to him on the phone during the relevant period to please make yourself known to police.”
For the sixth day in a row, forensic officers have searched Kelly’s home, gathering evidence for a laboratory investigation that could reveal the possibility of another person.
Since his arrest, it has been uncovered that he had a doll collecting obsession and boasted about his love of girls’ toys on social media pages.
Bratz and Disney princess dolls are stacked from floor to ceiling in one of the photos he shared.
Kelly is also seen holding a doll in each hand and wearing a Bratz t-shirt that reads, “Nothing beats chilling at home with by Bratz dolls.”