A four-year-old who went missing for 18 days in Australia has been found safe, with police sharing pictures of the child smiling and eating an ice lolly just hours after her rescue.

Cleo Smith disappeared on 16 October while camping with her family.

She was discovered by Western Australia police when they broke into a locked house in Carnarvon at about 1am following forensic clues. A 36-year-old man has been taken into custody.

Deputy Commissioner Col Blanch said police found Cleo in one of the rooms.

When one of the officers picked her up and asked her for her name, she said: “My name is Cleo”.

Footage of Cleo smiling after she was rescued, recorded on one of the officer’s body cameras, was this morning released by WA police.

Another picture has been released showing the little girl waving at a camera and eating an ice lolly.

This picture was snapped earlier on Wednesday when she was taken to hospital for tests.

WA Police captioned the picture: “The miracle we all hoped for”.

In a statement, Blanch said: “It’s the outcome we’ve achieved because of some incredible police work.

“I want to thank Cleo’s parents, the Western Australian community and the many volunteers. And of course, I want to thank my colleagues in the Western Australia Police Force.”

The news of Cleo’s discovery marks the end to an extensive 18-day search for the little girl.

Cleo went missing overnight while at Blowholes campsite in Macleod, near Carnarvon.

Cleo woke her mother Ellie at 1:30am to ask for water, but when Ellie woke up again at 6am the flap to the tent was open and Cleo’s sleeping bag was gone.

Posting on Instagram, Ellie wrote: “Our family is whole again”.

Australian prime minister Scott Morrison also took to social media to share his relief, writing: “Our prayers answered”.

Police will release more information on Cleo’s rescue as the day unfolds.

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