The death of missing Sydney businesswoman Melissa Caddick remains under investigation after her foot and ASICS shoe were found washed up on a remote beach by campers more than three months after she disappeared.
The decomposed foot was discovered on Bournda Beach in Tathra, south of Sydney’s CBD, on Sunday February 21 and police on Friday confirmed DNA testing proved the remains belonged to the conwoman.
But the mystery that has gripped the nation remains in the spotlight as police have not yet been able to piece together Ms Caddick’s final moments, how she died and where the rest of her body is.
NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Mick Willing said Ms Caddick’s case was ‘absolutely not at all’ closed and extensive investigations will be ongoing.
Ms Caddick vanished the day after corporate watchdog ASIC executed a search warrant at her luxury Dover Heights home, in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, on November 11.
Melissa Caddick’s foot and shoe were found washed up on a beach on the NSW south coast. She’s pictured with husband Anthony Koletti
The decomposed foot was found by campers 400km away from Dover Heights in Sydney on Bournda Beach in Tathra
Court-appointed liquidators allege she ‘meticulously and systematically’ deceived investors who handed millions of dollars to her over seven years, then used the money to fund her extravagant lifestyle.
Assistant Commissioner Willing said Ms Caddick’s family were informed of the identification on Thursday night and are ‘obviously distressed’.
Officers have not yet been able to confirm how long the shoe had been in the water.
‘It remains a mystery as to when and how she came into the water and, again, that will be subject of ongoing investigations,’ Assistant Commissioner Willing said.
Investigators have not ruled out foul play but suspect the 49-year-old financial planner may have died by suicide.
‘Given the circumstances of the disappearance (and) the fact that she left personal belongings behind, we’ve always considered the possibility that she might have taken her own life,’ Assistant Commissioner Willing said.
‘However, a definitive decision in relation to the manner, time and cause of death is a matter for the coroner.’
Modelling by police marine rescue teams, taking tides and drift patterns into account, has been conducted around the possibility of Ms Caddick entering the water in Sydney’s Dover Heights area on or about November 12.
Campers found the remains washed up on Bournda Beach (pictured) on the NSW far south coast near Tathra
Analysis of the foot – found inside a shoe – will help investigators determine when she died.
‘It was decomposed so obviously it had been in the water for some time,’ Assistant Commissioner Willing said.
Police will continue to search for Ms Caddick’s remains around the location of the foot at Bournda Beach, south of Tathra.
Ms Caddick’s alleged victims responded to the announcement her foot was found on Friday.
Cheryl Kraft Reid entrusted almost $1million of her superannuation with Ms Caddick, whom she considered as a friend and last heard from two months prior to her disappearance.
‘Wow, that’s a sad tragic outcome for her son but its also just a sad tragic outcome for us because we just don’t get closure,’ Ms Kraft Reid told 2GB breakfast host Ben Fordham.
‘Besides the news we’re unlikely to see any return of that, it’s pretty devastating.’
Melissa Caddick’s husband Anthony Koletti (pictured left with Melissa) and her family were informed of the confirmation of her remains on Thursday night
NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Mick Willing (pictured on Friday) confirmed remains of the missing businesswoman have been found on the NSW far south coast. Also pictured is an exhausted looking Gretchen Atkins (left), the detective who has led the investigation
‘It’s not just the money, it’s the consequences of what’s happened to us and for the many years we’ve worked for zero returns because she decided to live an entitled and frivolous life.’
Ms Kraft Reid feels for Ms Caddick’s teenage son.
‘She’s left a young man without a mother and that’s the tragic part,’ she added.
Other victims want to know where the rest of Ms Caddick’s body was – and suggest she could still be on the run.
‘Did she just cut her foot off?’ One asked.
Assistant Commissioner Willing said Ms Caddick’s case is one of the most high-profile missing person investigations he has seen in the 30 years he has been in the police force.
‘There are understandably people out there who are very distressed about her alleged actions,’ he said.
‘And the circumstances where she disappeared have been intriguing and it remains a mystery in terms of how she came into the water.’
Melissa Caddick (pictured) disappeared without a trace from her Sydney home on November 11
Liquidators appointed to deal with Ms Caddick’s affairs on Wednesday said they were unable to find a single example of a legitimate investment in the name of the investor.
Instead, Ms Caddick mixed ‘many, many millions’ of investors’ funds in company bank accounts and her own personal accounts.
She then used the money to fund an ‘extravagant lifestyle’ and property purchases, according to provisional liquidator Bruce Gleeson.
Ms Caddick provided investors with hundreds of documents on Commonwealth Bank and CommSec letterheads suggesting their investments were doing well.
But really the account numbers on the documents either did not exist or were not associated with the actual investor.
Investors were deceived from the very start, as her company Maliver Pty Ltd did not hold a financial services licence as claimed.
Ms Caddick (right) is pictured with her husband Anthony Koletti (left)
Ms Caddick’s husband and son from Friday won’t be paid living and legal expenses out of her assets.
The matter is back in the Federal Court in April, when Mr Gleeson and his partner will ask to be appointed as ongoing liquidators so they can start realising Maliver’s ‘limited’ assets.
Assistant Commissioner Willing said the police were working alongside ASIC on the matter.
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