Alleged kidnapper of 4-year-old girl sent to maximum security prison

(PERTH, Australia) — Terence Darrell Kelly was charged Thursday afternoon with one count of forcibly taking a child under 16 for allegedly abducting 4-year-old Cleo Smith from a campsite on Oct. 16.

Kelly has been held by authorities in Perth, Australia, since Friday, according to the Western Australian Police Force. Prior to being charged, police reported he had twice been taken to the hospital for self-inflicted injuries, and that he needed to be held under maximum security.

“A person in that situation would not remain in Carnarvon anyway, so the normal process will take place. We’ll put extra security measures for obvious reasons,” Western Australia Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said at a news conference in Perth.

Kelly was taken into custody on Wednesday morning after a tip led police to a suburban home in Carnarvon, Australia, where Cleo was found unharmed.

Cleo had been missing for 18 days after she was abducted from her tent while camping with her family in a remote part of western Australia. The search for her had gained national attention.

Cleo’s family released a statement Friday morning thanking everyone who helped recover their daughter.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank all those involved in the rescue of our daughter Cleo Smith. In particular, we would like to thank Western Australia Police, all those involved in the initial search, the Carnarvon community, local businesses and of course our family and friends,” the statement said. “We are humbled by the love and support that we have received from not only our local community but the whole of Western Australia and across the country.”

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