Ellie Smith, the mother of four-year-old Cleo Smith, the little girl who was abducted in Australia last October, has shared a harrowing update on how Cleo’s been coping since the kidnapping.
In a raw and candid interview with 60 Minutes, Ellie reveals that despite Cleo being rescued, her daughter is “different” now, and “always will be”.
On October 16, 2021, during a family camping trip Cleo vanished in the middle of the night. It was initially thought that she might have wandered off, but it quickly became clear that the four-year-old had been kidnapped.
18 days later on November 3, Cleo was found in a deserted house, where a 36-year-old man had been keeping her, mere minutes from her own family home.
Speaking about how Cleo is coping now, mum Ellie said, “she’s happy, she’s bubbly, she’s sad, she’s angry. But she’s getting there.”
Ellie reveals that Cleo has understandably “blocked out a lot of what’s happened,” adding that she “went into survival mode.”
“She’s probably going to be dealing with this for the rest of her life, and we’re eventually going to have to find out everything that’s happened, and we’re going to have to carry that as well.”
Cleo’s parents go on to talk about the lasting effects which the terrifying abduction still has on her today, revealing that she hates doors being closed, she would wake up screaming from time to time and has “nightmare after nightmare”.
Terence Darrell Kelly has since pleaded guilty to the abduction of Cleo Smith, and now faces additional charges for assaulting an officer.
Commenting on how it feels to know that the man who kidnapped their daughter has now been found and will end up being punished, Ellie said “it was a relief that we could still go back to our family home without thinking someone’s watching us, or thinking anything like that could happen again.”
“So it was nice to know that we were as safe as we could be again,” Ellie added.