A man has pleaded guilty to kidnapping a 4-year-old girl from her family’s camping tent on Australia’s west coast last year.
Police found Cleo Smith alone in a house in Carnarvon, a town of 5,000 people, 18 days after she went missing last October.
The search for her has enthralled Australians, and the police who found her cried with relief when she told them, My name is Cleo,” when they asked for her identity.
Police said the man who was arrested shortly after Cleo’s rescue was a stranger to the girl and her family, but they have provided little other information on why he is a suspect.
Terence Darrell Kelly, 36, admitted the kidnapping during a brief trial in Carnarvon in a video link from Perth prison, 900 kilometers (560 miles) south.
He faces up to 20 years in prison for raping a child under the age of 16.
He will next appear at the Western Australian District Court in Perth on 20 March.
Kelly did not provide a defense for other criminal charges he faces, including assaulting a public official. Those charges were deferred to a later date.
It was previously revealed that Kelly is obsessed with Bratz dolls with photos showing dozens of them in the house where she was found.
One of Kelly’s social media profiles is a Facebook page devoted to his obsession with Bratz dolls, an American brand featuring revealingly dressed teenage characters.
On this site, posted a video of himself with a heart display filter with the words “I love my dolls”.
Kelly is also pictured with one of the dolls in hand wearing a Bratz T-shirt with the words: “Nothing can be as chilling as a Bratz doll at home.”
He also posted photos on Facebook in April 2020 showing him driving a doll with a doll.
“I love taking my dolls around, getting my hair done and taking selfies in public,” he captioned the post.
Grainey dashcam footage shows the moment police stormed into Kelly.
The doll-obsessed man was just meters away from his home, where four-year-old Cleo was locked inside.
Cleo was taken to a safe place after she was found safe 18 days after disappearing from Blowholes Campground – just 43 miles from her home in Carnarvon, Western Australia.
https://www.thesun.ie/news/8253076/terence-kelly-pleads-guilty-kidnapping-cloe-smith/ Terence Kelly pleads with GUILTY to kidnap Cleo Smith, 4, from her family’s tent at a campsite in Australia