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Neighbours of the man arrested in connection to Cleo Smith's disappearance have said that they heard crying coming from his house in the days before she was found.

Some have also said they saw the 36-year-old buying nappies but didn't think anything of it.

The four-year-old girl was rescued from the house at around 1am local time on Wednesday in Carnarvon, Australia, after an 18-day search.

She had vanished from a family campsite at the nearby Blowholes park, but now a police raid has returned her to her family alive.

Speaking to local media, residents have revealed that there were warning signs that weren't picked up on, reports the Mirror.

Sahntayah McKenzie, who lives nearby, said she heard crying one night at the suspect's house but didn't link it to the then-missing girl.

She told The West Australian: "Not last night, the night before it… I heard a little girl crying but I wouldn't expect it to be Cleo.

"I didn't expect it would happen in this little neighbourhood, a lot of people know each other."

Another neighbour told Sunrise: "The other day – on Monday – we saw him in Woolworths buying Kimbies [nappies] and that.

"But we didn't click on what he was buying them for."

One resident said everyone in the neighbourhood was familiar with each other but kept themselves to themselves, MailOnline reports.

He said: "Everyone knows the person who stays at that house, but no one would have thought it would be him.

"We were shocked."

The home where Cleo was found is just under 50 miles away from the Blowholes park campsite.

Following the good news that Cleo had been found safely, her mum Ellie Smith took to social media to share her relief.

"Our family is whole again," she wrote on her Instagram page next to a single heart emoji.

Speaking at a press conference in Dubai earlier, Australian prime minister Scott Morrison also expressed relief and described the disappearance as "every parent’s worst nightmare".

He said: "The fact that that nightmare has come to an end and our worst fears were not realised, is just a huge relief, and a moment for great joy.

"This particular case, obviously, has captured the hearts of Australians as we felt such terrible sorrow for the family.

"I want to thank, particularly, all of the police and all of those who were involved in making sure that Cleo is safe."

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  • Missing Person
  • Police

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