Cleo Smith‘s mother has revealed her daughter’s first words after she was reunited with her parents after her horrifying 18-day kidnapping nightmare – ‘Hi, mummy’.
The four-year-old made global headlines late last year when Western Australian Police found her in a house at Carnarvon, 900km north of Perth, more than two weeks after she disappeared from a camping ground.
Footage of a detective carrying her out of the home to safety along with audio of the little girl telling officers ‘my name is Cleo’ rapidly went viral as the world rejoiced over her miraculous rescue.
Shortly after being recovered, officers took the four-year-old back to her distressed mother Ellie Smith and stepfather Jake Gliddon.
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Cleo Smith’s mother Ellie (pictured) has revealed her daughter’s first words when the pair were reunited following the four-year-old’s 18-day kidnapping ordeal
Cleo (pictured) made global headlines late last year when Western Australian police found her in a house at Carnarvon, 900km north of Perth, 18 days after she disappeared from a camping ground
Despite her terrifying ordeal, the toddler was upbeat – and very excited to see her parents.
‘[She said] “Hi mummy!”’ Ms Smith said.
Mimicking her daughter’s enthusiasm, Ms Smith said ‘Hi baby!’ back.
Details about the emotional reunion were revealed in a preview of a 60 Minutes segment that will air on Sunday as Ms Smith and Mr Gliddon share their family’s story for the first time.
Channel Nine reportedly offered the pair a $2million contract for the exclusive tell-all interview, which is believed to be an Australian television record. The deal is also believed to include a Stan mini-series or documentary and stories across their websites and newspapers.
In another snippet of the program, Ms Smith tells seasoned reporter Tara Brown she felt ‘powerless’ after waking to find her eldest daughter missing from her tent.
‘I had to hope that she was close to me, but she wasn’t,’ Ms Smith said.
‘It was just nightmare after nightmare.’
The sensational interview is expected to recount the toddler’s disappearance and the successful search efforts and investigation that led to her recovery on November 3.
While her parents will relay their hellish experience, Cleo is not expected to front the cameras, according to the West Australian.
The four-year-old Carnarvon girl’s disappearance and recovery made global headlines as people around the world celebrated her miraculous rescue (pictured)
The deal is the highest amount paid for a television interview since Channel Nine paid Beaconsfield mine disaster survivors Brant Webb and Todd Russell $1million each in 2006 to recall their two weeks trapped in the underground mine.
Ms Smith and Mr Gliddon’s decision to speak has sparked controversy, with WA Police – who are still in the process of prosecuting Cleo’s abductor Terence Kelly – describing the TV special as ‘highly inappropriate’.
It is understood police will not be providing any information to 60 Minutes or taking part.
Several officers close to the investigation told the publication the timing of the mini series is ‘highly inappropriate for any episode to be airing prior to completion of the judicial process’.
The episodes are also set to be aired on streaming service Stan while the case remains before the court.
One source told the Western Australia it was ‘almost contempt of court’ for the program to air.
Cleo Smith (pictured recovering after her 18-day ordeal) is not expected to feature in the interview
The deal has also caused a stir within the ranks at Nine after WA-based reporters were denied the chance of sitting down with the family, in favour of Brown.
Due to the state’s border closures, Brown, who lives in Sydney, was unable to travel to Western Australia and was forced to conduct the interview over video calls.
The cost of the segment, which is reportedly a quarter of 60 Minutes’ annual budget, further stoked outrage after the network recently underwent budget cuts.
The four-year-old’s story captured hearts around the world who braced for the worst outcome and celebrated when she was extraordinarily found.
Bids for the sensational story began almost immediately after Cleo was found, with nine beating Channel Seven’s Spotlight program to secure the deal.
Cleo was holidaying with family on October 16 at the Blowholes campsite, about 80km north of Carnarvon, when she vanished from her tent.
She had woken about 1.30am and asked for water but when her parents got up at 6am the little girl was gone.
Mother Ellie Smith and stepfather Jake Gliddon pictured appealing for information during a press conference while the four-year old was missing
An land, air and sea search failed to find any trace of Cleo. Five days after she went missing police announced they believed Cleo had been abducted and offered a $1million reward.
Cleo quickly became perhaps the most recognisable four-year-old in Australia and within two weeks her smiling face would become famous around the world.
On November 3 police found Cleo alive and well inside a locked house at Carnarvon just minutes from her family home.
Her abductor Terence Darrell Kelly, 36, who was not known to Cleo’s family, pleaded guilty to a single charge of child stealing on January 24.
The case will now be adjourned to the Perth District Court on March 20, where he will eventually be sentenced but ultimately avoid a criminal trial.
Kelly is yet to enter a plea to other charges.
My Name Is Cleo will premiere on February 6 at 8.30pm on Channel Nine and 9Now.
Ms Smith said her daughter said, ‘Hi Mummy!’ excitedly when the pair were reunited after the terrifying ordeal