Terence Darrell Kelly has pleaded guilty to the charge of child stealing, after he was accused of abducting and holding four-year-old Cleo Smith for 18 days in his Western Australia home.
Kelly was arrested on 3 November and charged with forcibly taking a child under the age of 16.
On 16 October 2021, Smith went missing from her family’s tent during a camping trip at the Quobba blowholes. After a massive 18 day search, police discovered Smith alive in Kelly’s house, located just a few blocks away from Smith’s family home.
A video released by the WA Police captured the moment the young girl was discovered.
“One of the officers picked her up into his arms and asked her ‘what’s your name?’” Blanch said. “She said – ‘My name is Cleo.’”
Cleo was reunited with her parents a short time later.
Kelly initially received hospital treatment for what was believed to be self-inflicted injuries before being charged by police. He remains in custody at Perth’s maximum-security Casuarina Prison and awaits a date for his sentencing.