Cleo Smith search: Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde and Assistant Commissioner Brad Royce examine campsite

Brianna DuganThe West Australian
Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde visits the Blowholes Campsite in Point Quobba.
Camera IconDetective Superintendent Rod Wilde visits the Blowholes Campsite in Point Quobba. Credit: Jackson Flindell/The West Australian

The men leading the investigation into the disappearance of Cleo Smith have visited the Blowholes campsite where the little girl went missing from her family tent more than a week ago for the first time.

Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde and Assistant Commissioner Brad Royce were briefed on Thursday afternoon by other officers at the site where Cleo’s family was camping.

The group of senior investigators then walked around the campsite before making their way to the waters edge at Point Quobba.

It is the first time Det. Supt Wilde has joined the investigation on the ground in Carnarvon. He has previously been working around the clock to crack the case from Perth, where he and Mr Royce are expected to return to on Friday.

Assistant Police Commissioner Brad Royce, Detective Cameron Blaine, Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde visit the Blowholes Campsite in Point Quobba.
Camera IconAssistant Police Commissioner Brad Royce, Detective Cameron Blaine, Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde visit the Blowholes Campsite in Point Quobba. Credit: Jackson Flindell/The West Australian, Jackson Flindell

Det. Supt Wilde — a police veteran of nearly 40 years — leads about 100 officers in the operation as head of Taskforce Rodia.

Before his most recent assignment, Det. Supt Wilde led Taskforce Ravello, the investigation launched in December to investigate the fatal shooting of former Rebels boss Nick Martin — which has led to a former Australian soldier pleading guilty to the gangster’s murder.

Assistant Police Commissioner Brad Royce, Detective Cameron Blaine, Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde visit the Blowholes Campsite in Point Quobba.
Camera IconAssistant Police Commissioner Brad Royce, Detective Cameron Blaine, Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde visit the Blowholes Campsite in Point Quobba. Credit: Jackson Flindell/The West Australian, Jackson Flindell

Prior to that, Det. Supt Wilde oversaw the fresh police investigation into the 1997 abduction and murder of Gerard Ross.

When police last week turned to the theory Cleo may have been abducted, Det. Supt Wilde said cases don’t “get any worse”.

Assistant Police Commissioner Brad Royce, Detective Cameron Blaine, Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde visit the Blowholes Campsite in Point Quobba.
Camera IconAssistant Police Commissioner Brad Royce, Detective Cameron Blaine, Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde visit the Blowholes Campsite in Point Quobba. Credit: Jackson Flindell/The West Australian

“Look, it doesn’t get any worse,” he said at the time. “We know that. We really feel for the parents.”

Forensic officers were back at the campsite on Wednesday collecting ash samples from a campfire. They had earlier spent hours examining the family home in South Carnarvon.

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