Melissa Caddick’s death mystery unsolved, coroner rules
The mysterious case of conwoman Melissa Caddick, who vanished from her luxurious eastern Sydney home in November 2020, has captivated Australia. Her partially decomposed foot washed up on a beach months later, sparking numerous theories about her fate. Despite a long-running inquest, a coroner ruled on Thursday that the exact circumstances of her death would remain unknown.
Melissa Caddick’s life began to unravel when Australia’s financial watchdog, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (Asic), discovered she had been conning clients for years. Regulators suspect she stole more than A$23m (£12m; US$15m) from over 60 clients, including family and friends, to fund a lavish lifestyle. When police raided her home on November 11, 2020, it marked the last confirmed sighting of the 49 year old.
Caddick’s husband, Anthony Koletti, told police she had gone for an early run the next morning. However, he did not report her missing for over 30 hours. The inquest heard how Koletti’s erratic behaviour led police to suspect his involvement in her disappearance, although he denies any knowledge of her crimes or involvement in her vanishing.
In February 2021, the case took a gruesome turn when a rotting foot was found on a remote beach 500km south of Sydney. Experts matched the body part to Caddick through DNA, but an autopsy couldn’t determine if it was separated by force or decomposition. Theories ranged from shark attacks to Caddick severing her own foot, but scientists at the inquest suggested ocean currents and decomposition as more likely explanations.
The inquest also highlighted criticisms of police handling of the case, with suggestions that they focused too narrowly on the theory that Caddick had voluntarily vanished. Magistrate Elizabeth Ryan said that the uncovering of Caddick’s deception may have triggered a “narcissistic injury” and caused her “a catastrophic level of shame and despair.” However, the manner of her death will remain unresolved.
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