Six days since Cleo Smith disappeared from her family’s tent there are few leads, no suspects and no sign of where she went.
But 75 kilometres south in Carnarvon, where the four-year old is from, Cleo is everywhere.
In a regional fishing town devastated by the case, missing persons posters are in every shopfront. Corflutes and bumper stickers have been printed by a local signwriter who, like many in the close-knit community, is doing anything they can to help.
It would be difficult for other children who attend St Mary’s Star of the Sea Catholic School, where Cleo was a student, to get around town without seeing one of the posters.
The ordeal has been a living nightmare for Cleo’s mum Ellie and step-dad Jake Gliddon, who have remained at the Blowholes campsite where their daughter went missing from.
A quintessential Carnarvon family, Ms Smith works at a beauty salon and Mr Gliddon on Rio Tinto sites, they have deep ties to the community. Fishing, camping, motorbike riding and boating are all par for the course in the adventure-rich Gascoyne region the couple calls home.
The Gliddons are renown anglers and the couple grew up as children holidaying to the same site their daughter has now disappeared from. The family’s horrific situation also comes after the tragic death of a young relative earlier this year.
Amid all the uncertainty, the people of Carnarvon now just keep pushing and searching for answers.
The state Nationals MP for the region, Vince Catania, said the efforts from volunteers and businesses just showed the nation the kind of community Carnarvon was.
“Everyone has put their differences aside and worked together to try and find Cleo and rallied behind the family to provide as much support as one can in this absolutely tragic and distressing time,” he said.
“It leaves many questions and hopefully the police, and everyone who is looking for her, are able to find her.
“But this does leave a real hole in the heart of everyone who lives in Carnarvon and the Gascoyne.”
Publican Mem Beard has been at the Port Hotel-Motel on the main drag of Carnarvon since 2004 and said it was fair to say people had been feeling devastated.
“It’s definitely reflected in the mood [of town] they just want her home,” she said.
Even with all the heartbreak, people in Carnarvon only feel that they can try and give.
The Bakery Plus owner Joseph Ngyuen has lived in town for 32 years and has been providing food for the search crews.
“That’s all we can do,” he said. “The girl is my friend as well, I’ve been knowing them for a long time. I’ve watched them growing up.
“I give the girls a biscuit just before she disappeared myself … on Thursday morning. The girls come in here with mum … it’s so heartbreaking, no good for the town.”
Jace Kempton was born and bred in Carnarvon and has two young children of his own. He owns a signwriting company and printed corflutes to go up along the highway and more than 500 bumper stickers with pictures of Cleo on them.
“Rio Tinto wanted to come on board and put up $2000 towards it,” he said.
“You wouldn’t know what to do if you’re in that position, as you can imagine, and we all think about.
“The day it first happened I reckon half the town went up to the blowholes to do what they can … you just sort of feel helpless.”
Mr Kempton said growing up in Carnarvon, he would never have thought anything like the disappearance would happen.
“We’ve all grown up there camping in the same way, you take it for granted where we live and you never expect something like this,” he said.
“It doesn’t change my outlook on WA or this region.
“Obviously, you’ll definitely be keeping an extra eye out or eyes over your shoulder.”
Mr Catania said he thought Cleo’s disappearance would change the way people thought.
“It’s distressing when you can’t find a loved one, but not to be able to find a four-year-old girl just adds to so many questions of how, why, and who is living among us that could take a four-year-old,” he said.
Acting Deputy Police Commissioner Darryl Gaunt said on Wednesday there was no information to suggest what exactly had happened to the young girl, who has not been seen since 1.30am on Saturday.
Later that afternoon, Mid West-Gascoyne Assistant District Officer, Inspector Jon Munday, told media the tent zipper had been opened to a height young Cleo wouldn’t have been able to reach, which gave police “grave concerns” for her safety.
The police investigation is still pursuing both a search and criminal probe.
The land search around the Blowholes campsite continues with mounted police now traversing a range of hilly terrain running parallel to the coast which overlooks the area.
State Emergency Service volunteers have been going back over the same ground in the search area first walked on Saturday.
Mr Gaunt told Radio 6PR that the more time that went by, the less chance there was of finding Cleo alive.
“Whilst time is not on our side … there have been instances in the past where even small children lost in remote areas still being found safe and well,” he said.
“There’s been some rain that gives us hope that there’s water on the ground, those type of things which, you know, we take all of these things on as a positive, and we keep searching with every bit of energy that we have.
“In relation to an investigation, that is ongoing, it is being more heavily resourced, we are putting more resources into that area as time goes on. We know the forecast going forward gets worse each day.”
Mr Gaunt agreed it was strange for a child to walk off in the middle of the night with their sleeping bag, which also has not been found.
“The circumstances around this [disappearance] were quite unique. The lack of information, the terrain, the weather conditions, the location, all of those things gave us, to be honest, far more questions than we could give answers to from what we know,” he said.
Anyone with relevant information about the disappearance should pass it on immediately to WA Police by ringing 131 444.