Image source, Wa policeImage caption, Police released a photo of Cleo Smith after her rescue

An Australian man has been charged with the abduction of four-year-old Cleo Smith, who was rescued on Wednesday after being missing for 18 days.

Terence Darrell Kelly, 36, appeared in court in the town of Carnarvon charged with forcibly or fraudulently taking or enticing a child under 16 .

Cleo disappeared from her family's tent at a campsite on 16 October, triggering a massive search.

Police found her in a locked home in Carnarvon.

Cleo has since been reunited with her parents, who had made desperate pleas for her return. Authorities said Mr Kelly had no connection to the Smith family.

Mr Kelly did not apply for bail and was not required to enter a plea at the Carnarvon Magistrate's Court on Thursday.

He has been remanded in custody until 6 December, according to local media reports.

His neighbours expressed shock that he might have been involved, telling the West Australian newspaper he was a "very quiet" man who "kept to himself" but was known to everyone on the street.

ABC News reported that the man had been recently spotted by a neighbour buying nappies.

This video can not be played

To play this video you need to enable JavaScript in your browser.Media caption, "My name is Cleo": Listen to the moment police found the missing girl

Detective Sergeant Cameron Blaine, one of the officers who found Cleo, said she was alert and aware at the time she was rescued. The lights were on in the house when she was found and she was playing with toys, he said.

Officers' joy at finding Cleo in the house is clear in an audio clip released by police on Thursday. In the recording, an officer can be heard saying "we've got her, we've got her", and asking the child her name.

"My name is Cleo," she responds, to the delight of the officers, who say: "Hello Cleo!"