The West Australian exclusive

Cleo Smith search: Body language expert says mother Ellie and stepfather Jake ‘distraught’ in TV interview

Daryna ZadvirnaThe West Australian
VideoCleo Smith's family have given an emotional interview saying she'd never wander off alone.

One of Australia’s leading body language experts has warned the public against misjudging Cleo Smith’s mother and stepfather after a TV interview, saying they appeared genuinely “distraught” and “exhausted” over their daughter’s disappearance.

Ellie Smith and her partner Jake Gliddon yesterday appealed for public help in their first interview with the media since the four-year-old girl mysteriously vanished from their tent during a family camping trip in Carnarvon.

Queensland author and body language expert Allan Pease said it had led to some judgmental members of the public getting the wrong image.

He said that while the pair had their arms crossed in front of the cameras and did not put on a show of intimacy their behaviour was normal in the given circumstances — they simply appeared worn down by stress.


“The first thing I noticed with the couple was that they had their arms bound tightly across their chest,” he told The West Australian.

“Now a certain percentage of the public would judge them negatively and be sceptical based on what they see because they don’t know the people.

But there’s nothing contrived or deceitful about how they look – they’ve got people and cameras and props in their face and all sorts of people … and this has been going on for four or five days – they’re worn out.

Mr Pease said Cleo’s mother’s demeanour reminded him of Lindy Chamberlain who was unfairly criticised for the way she came across to to viewers in her initial media appearances after her infant daughter Azaria disappeared was taken from her tent by a dingo in Uluru in 1980.

Cleo Smith’s mother, Ellie Smith and her partner Jake Gliddon, speak about her disappearance.
Camera IconCleo Smith’s mother, Ellie Smith and her partner Jake Gliddon, speak about her disappearance. Credit: ABC News/ABC News

“(Ms Smith) looks like she’s been through the mill over and over again,” he said.

“I notice watching (Mr Gliddon) — he is a distraught bloke. I did an analysis of his face and he has muscles moving on one side of his face and not on the other – you can’t fake that … you need to show very raw emotion for that to happen.”

Mr Pease said the couple were struggling to cope with the terrible circumstances they found themselves in.

“They’re not used to being thrashed in the public eye at all, don’t know how to present themselves – like most people,” he said.

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