Dramatic moment Cleo Smith kidnap suspect is ‘bundled out of car & arrested by cops moments before toddler was rescued’
4th November 2021

THIS is the dramatic moment Cleo Smith's kidnap suspect was "bundled out of a car and arrested by cops" over an hour before the toddler was rescued.

Terence Kelly, 36, was arrested just before officers swooped on a property where they found Cleo, who has now been reunited with her family.



Grainey dashcam footage, obtained by 7News, shows the moment police swooped on Kelly.

The doll-obsessed man was just metres away from his home where the four-year-old Cleo was locked inside.

On Tuesday at 11.24pm, over an hour before Cleo was rescued, police surrounded Kelly in front of shocked onlookers.

“It was like a high-speed chase first, there was one car and then police cars,” Deane Mitchell told 7NEWS.

“[I thought] something’s going on, that’s not right.”

It is understood that Kelly's female relatives were in the car when he was bundled out of the vehicle.

Another witness said that police were "chasing" the suspect before surrounding him.

“And we saw one of the detectives on top of the guy pinning him down on the curb. . . you know really rigorously," the witness said.

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, Cleo was carried to safety after she was found safe 18 days after vanishing from Blowholes Campground – just 43 miles from her home in Carnarvon, Western Australia.

Police allege that Kelly snatched the little girl from her family tent while she slept at the campsite with her family on October 16.

🔵 Read our Cleo Smith blog for the latest updates in the search

Meanwhile, it was revealed that Kelly was obsessed with Bratz dolls with pictures showing dozens of them in the house where she was found.

One of Kelly’s many social media profiles is a Facebook page devoted to his obsession with Bratz dolls, an American brand featuring scantily clad teenage figures.

On the page, posted a video of himself with a filter showing hearts with the words “I love my dolls”.

Another picture shows a room dedicated to the dolls, with shelves stacked to the ceiling showing a large number still in the boxes, the Sydney Morning Herald Reports.

Kelly is also pictured with one of the dolls in each hand wearing a Bratz t-shirt with the words: “Nothing beats chilling at home with by Bratz dolls”.

He also uploaded photos to Facebook in April 2020 showing him taking a doll for a car drive.

“I love taking my dolls for drive around and doing their hair and taking selfies in public”, he captioned the post.

Police were asked about the alleged doll obsession and whether Kelly might have used the toys to lure Cleo but said they would not be commenting on it.  


Officers also declined to say if the dolls pictured were found in the house where Cleo was found.

Western Australia Police Detective Senior Sergeant Cameron Blaine said Cleo was found in physically good health in a bedroom inside Kelly’s house.

“The lights were on and she was playing with toys, I think that’s about all I want to say.

“This is still a matter that needs to go before the courts. There’s certain aspects about what we saw that is going to be evidence.”

Kelly has now appeared a Carnarvon Magistrate's Court, where he was charged with count of forcibly taking a child under 16, commonly referred to as child stealing. 

The suspect nodded that he acknowledged the charges and didn't apply for bail. He was remanded in custody until December 6.

What we know so far…

  • Police broke into a locked house at 1am and found Cleo in one of the rooms
  • The 36-year-old man arrested was rushed to hospital twice
  • Acting on a sudden tip off cops swooped on the property
  • Cleo's relieved mum Ellie said: "Our family is home again"
  • Cops revealed Cleo was playing with toys when they burst in

He expressed anger at the presence of the media as he was flanked by two police officers.

Earlier he was pictured lying down in the ambulance with his bandaged head covered in a blanket.

News outlets in Australia published pictures and videos showing what they said was the suspect in the back of an ambulance.

The images show the suspect being tended to by medics for head injuries

Cleo was discovered by police in the early hours of Wednesday after they received a sudden tip-off about her whereabouts.

Officers used battering rams and crowbars to kick in the door to the house – which was just seven minutes away from where she lives with her family.

Cleo's mum cradled her as cops released audio of her first words after they rescued her in a dramatic swoop on a suspect’s house and asked her name.

“M-my name is Cleo,” she replies as one of the clearly relieved cops says “hello Cleo!" and another says "you're alright bubby".



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