Jesinta Franklin deletes Cleo Smith post: 'Need to do better'

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Jesinta Franklin has reportedly shared and then deleted an Instagram post highlighting the 'disparity' between the media coverage of Indigenous and non-Indigenous missing children in the wake of four-year-old Cleo Smith being found safe and well.

The former Miss Universe Australia model is married to AFL legend and proud Noongar-Wajuk man, Lance 'Buddy' Franklin, and the couple share two children together.

Jesinta Franklin and Lance Franklin of the Swans arrives ahead of the 2018 Brownlow Medal at Crown Entertainment Complex on September 24, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Jesinta Franklin and Lance 'Buddy' Franklin glammed up for the 2018 Brownlow Medal. Photo: Getty Images.

Jesinta highlights 'disparity'

Jesinta, 30, and her Sydney Swans star husband welcomed daughter Tullulah, 20 months, in February 2020, and seven-month-old son Rocky, back in March.

Jesinta is said to have posted a message to her Instagram Stories at around 2pm on Wednesday, however the post appears to have been removed ahead of the platform's standard 24-hour expiry window.

WA police discovered Cleo, who had been missing for 18 days, locked inside a home in Carnarvon in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

"Without taking away from the joy of finding a missing child alive and well," Jesinta wrote. "I can't help but think about the disparity that exists in this country between missing children who are white and Indigenous children when it comes to the visibility and coverage of the case.

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A screenshot of an Instagram post by Jesinta Franklin speaking about Indigenous missing children. Photo: Instagram/jesinta_franklin.
Jesinta spoke about Indigenous missing children in an Instagram post that appears to have been deleted. Photo: Instagram/jesinta_franklin.
Jesinta Franklin cradling her baby son, Rocky. Photo: Instagram/jesinta_franklin.
Jesinta cradles her baby son, Rocky, after a feed. Photo: Instagram/jesinta_franklin.

"I have read so many heartbreaking stories of missing Indigenous children that garner hardly any media coverage or the social media coverage that a case like Cleo's did. 

"I have no doubt the widespread broadcasting of information in regards to the case assisted the phenomenal efforts of the WA police force in locating this beautiful little girl and reuniting her with her family.' 

"Posting this because I think we need to do better for all children who go missing and their families."

A 2021 report prepared by University of New South Wales for the Australian Federal Police (AFP) found Indigenous young people made up 34 percent of young people who go missing.

And a December 2019 report by ABC News found that Aboriginal people make up 17.5 percent of unsolved missing persons cases in Western Australia, despite making up just 3 percent of the state’s population.

In this handout image provided by the Western Australia Police Force, four-year-old Cleo Smith pictured in hospital on November 3, 2021 in Carnarvon, Australia. Cleo Smith was found in the early hours Wednesday 3 November after police raided a house in Carnarvon. The four-year-old went missing from the tent she was sharing with her family at the Blowholes campsite near Carnarvon on 16 October. A 36-year-old man is now in custody. (Photo by WA Police Force via Getty Images )
Four-year-old Cleo Smith waves from hospital on November 3, 2021 in Carnarvon, WA, after being found by police. Photo: WA Police Force via Getty Images.

Earlier this year, Jesinta spoke to Marie Claire about raising her First Nations children.

"Obviously, I'm guided by Buddy, but I've taken the initiative to educate myself so I can be the best mum to our First Nations babies and the best ally I can be," she told the publication.

"I feel like I have a big responsibility to ensure my kids can connect to culture and can continue to share their history and be the storytellers for the next generation."

WA Police has since released a photo of Cleo smiling and waving from hospital in Carnarvon. She was reunited with her mum, Ellie Smith after being found in the early hours of Wednesday alone in a house that's less than 10 minutes from her own family home.

Cleo went missing from the tent she was sharing with her family at the Blowholes campsite near Carnarvon on 16 October.

A 36-year-old man is now in custody.

Jesinta has been contacted for comment.

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