Incredible moment 'Australia's Maddie' Cleo Smith, four, was rescued by police from rundown home of a 36-year-old 'childless loner' - 18 DAYS after she was snatched from her family's tent 47 miles away

 This is the incredible moment four-year-old Cleo Smith was rescued from a stranger's house in Western Australia, 18 days after going missing from a remote campsite where she was staying with her family. 

Cleo, dubbed 'Australia's Madeleine McCann', was discovered by detectives around 1am Wednesday alone inside the bedroom of a rundown and locked house in Carnarvon - a rural town 47 miles from the campsite where she vanished on October 16, and just two miles from her family home.

In the footage, police can be seen carrying the tired-eyed girl into the garden of the house before a detective asks whether she is OK. When Cleo smiles and nods, he tells her: 'We're going to take you to see your mummy and daddy, OK?'

The tender moment brings to an end a desperate investigation that began when Ellie Smith - Cleo's mother - reported her missing from a tent the family was sharing on the Blowholes Campsite, and which had been overshadowed from day one by fears of a tragic ending for the little girl.

But Cleo is now safe and recovering in the company of her parents - having been pictured smiling from a hospital bed while eating an ice lolly, waving to the camera as her mother's hand rests on her leg. Rod Wilde, the detective who led the investigation, said Cleo is 'physically OK' after being checked by doctors.

Meanwhile police have arrested a 36-year-old man, who they have not yet named or charged, in connection with her disappearance. He was pictured being taken to hospital with a bandage around his head in the early hours, after apparently being beaten by other inmates when taken into custody. 

Neighbours described his as 'a loner' who had been behaving 'weirdly', including one who saw him buying nappies in a nearby supermarket despite not having children. Cops say the man was only identified as a suspect on Tuesday, and is now being questioned over a suspected abduction. They are not looking for anybody else.

The man was not at the house when Cleo was found, officers said, but was arrested a 'short' distance away. Detective Wilde said he is not known to Cleo's family and is not a registered sex offender, but is 'known to police'. 'I have to be very careful about that,' he added.

Cleo was first reported missing at 6.23am on October 16 by Ellie, who said she had last seen her daughter asleep alongside stepfather Jake and sister Isla in the family's tent at 1.30am, but awoke to find her gone. The tent zipper was undone and the sleeping bag that Cleo was using had also disappeared.

Police quickly launched a search and rescue operation, using helicopters, drones, dogs and officers to scour the sparse countryside around the campsite and nearby coastline amid fears Cleo had wandered off. But after no sign of her was uncovered, police quickly pivoted to the theory that she had been taken. 

Officers trawled through hours of CCTV footage, combed satellite images, interviewed other campers and even dug through rubbish heaps for any sign of the missing girl before a 'tip off' led them to the Carnarvon house. 

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