Advanced Technologies Could Help Find Missing Cleo Smith

AFP join 100-strong Police taskforce

Article heading image for Advanced Technologies Could Help Find Missing Cleo Smith

Missing toddler Cleo Smith.

Australian Federal Police could use high-resolution satellite imagery to help solve the mystery of who took four-year-old Cleo Smith from the Quobba Blowholes campsite in Macleod, 50 km north of Carnarvon in WA. 

The federal agency was called in yesterday to help the 100-strong WA police task force with advanced technology that will aid their search for the toddler, who has been missing for fourteen days. 

“The AFP have some very advanced capabilities, leading edge, not just here in Australia, but all around the world and as much as I’d love to reveal exactly what some of those are and how they’re being used, we certainly can’t talk about that on air.” he told Radio 6PR.

- Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Radio 6PR

Astrophysicist Brad Tucker from the Australian National University said the AFP could request access to a range of government and spy satellites that are advanced enough to determine the make and model of a car. 

However, they would only be useful if the devices were situated in the right spot at the right time and the high-resolution satellites are limited.

“There are a lot of satellites always passing overhead, there are tons. The high resolution ones, you’re a bit more limited, so they’re not going to be overhead at every single point – every half a day, sure, but not every hour or minute. If they think there was something during the day at the campsite that was present on the day Cleo went missing, such as a car, they may be trying to use satellite imagery to track down a timeline. There is a strong chance they may have gotten something, it may not have been the highest resolution, but it could have been something,” Tucker said.

The AFP also has new powers since the passing of surveillance laws in August. AFP Officers can now domestically spy on people by way of their devices, computers and online networks without needing a warrant. 

They can also request access to GPS location data of the mobile phones detected near the Quobba Blowholes phone tower on any particular date.

Police believe little Cleo Smith was snatched from her family’s tent at the Quobba Blowholes campsite between 1:30 am and 6 am on Saturday, October 16. 


Its been revealed WA Police have not spoken to everyone who was at the isolated campsite that evening, as they were gone the following day. Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde leading the investigation said “there may still be some people that were in the general vicinity of the blow holes that we’d ask to come forward.”

Witnesses have come forward reporting a car screeching away from the site at about 3 am and two travellers say they saw a vehicle turning right off Blowholes Road onto North West Coastal Highway, heading towards Carnarvon around 3 am or 3:30 am, the morning she disappeared. 

A $1 million reward remains for anyone who provides information which leads to the whereabouts of Cleo. 

Anyone with any information is urged to call Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000 or Police on 131 444. 

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Hit News Team

29 October 2021

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