The detective who led the investigation into the search for Cleo Smith and spearheaded the probe into the Claremont serial killer case has been acknowledged with an Australia Day honour.
Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde, who has been an officer in Western Australia since 1984, was awarded an Australian Police Medal.
Det Supt Wilde led the 140-officer Taskforce Rodia after Cleo was abducted from the Quobba Blowholes while camping with her family.
Officers swooped on the Carnarvon home of Terence Darrell Kelly in the early hours of November 3 — 18 days after Cleo was taken.
Kelly, 36, pleaded guilty this week to forcibly taking a child aged under 16.
Cleo’s abduction made headlines around the world.
Det Supt Wilde was involved in solving another high-profile case — the Claremont serial killer, who haunted Perth for decades.
The Macro Taskforce was Australia’s largest and longest-running murder investigation.
The cold case homicide team finally nabbed Bradley Robert Edwards, who was described by Justice Stephen Hall as “sadistic” and a “dangerous predator”.
Following an epic 95-day trial, Edwards was sentenced in December 2020 to life behind bars, with a minimum of 40 years to be served.
It is the longest minimum term ever handed down in WA.
Edwards, who called himself the “bogeyman” online, murdered childcare worker Jane Rimmer, 23, in 1996 and solicitor Ciara Glennon, 27, in 1997.
But 52-year-old former Telstra technician was acquitted of killing secretary Sarah Spiers, 18, whose remains have never been found.
He also pleaded guilty to twice raping a 17-year-old girl he abducted from a park and dragged through Karrakatta Cemetery in 1995, and indecently assaulting an 18-year-old woman sleeping in her Huntingdale home in 1988.
Det Supt Wilde also provided direction to the team that caught the sniper who assassinated Rebels bikie boss Nick Martin at Perth Motorplex in Kwinana on December 12, 2020.
The 35-year-old former soldier, who cannot be identified, was sentenced last December to 20 years in prison, with an 18-year minimum.
It came after he agreed to assist prosecutors in the matter brought against Rebel turned Comanchero bikie David James Pye, who is accused of orchestrating Mr Martin’s killing.
The court heard the man had been offered $150,000 to kill Mr Martin, although he did not get the full amount.
Following surveillance, which included the use of a drone and internet searches, the killer assessed the layout of Perth Motorplex and even positioned himself just 10m away from the victim.
He further removed a ramp to improve his line of sight, fired 200 rounds at a small target to practice, and changed the wheels and registration for his vehicle.
Having cut a hole in the fence, the man wore camouflage and crawled into his position then watched Mr Martin through his magnifier scope for up to 15 minutes.
A single round was fired from about 335m away, which struck Mr Martin in the chest, exited his lower back and then hit former Bandidos bikie member Ricky Chapman.
It was revealed last week that the sniper was appealing his sentence.
Det Supt Wilde has been publicly praised by Premier Mark McGowan, Police Commissioner Chris Dawson and many others.
“Over his 38-year career, Det Supt Wilde has displayed a tenacity and a dedication to justice that is not easily forgotten,” the honour read.
“His leadership and expertise have led to much transformative change throughout the Police Force and it is for these reasons that he is a worthy recipient of the Australian Police Medal.”