In a surprise development, the alleged kidnapper of an Australian 4-year-old has admitted to abducting the girl from a remote campsite last year and holding her captive for more than two weeks. Terence Kelly, 36, pleaded guilty in a virtual hearing Monday to taking Cleo Smith from her family’s tent in October, in a case that drew international headlines. Cleo was found alive and safe 18 days after her kidnapping, rescued after four detectives stormed a property near her family’s home in Western Australia. Kelly was arrested soon afterward. He faces an additional charge of assaulting a public officer, to which he has not yet pleaded. Australian newspaper The Age reported that a neighbor of Kelly’s stopped outside the courthouse Monday prior to his plea, saying she hoped he would “open his mouth up” and tell the magistrate what really happened. It remains unclear whether Kelly acted alone.
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