The discovery of missing conwoman Melissa Caddick’s human remains could change the timeline of her death and prove she met with foul play instead of committing suicide, an expert criminologist has said.
A large piece of stomach flesh which included a belly button was found washed ashore at Mollymook Beach on the NSW south coast about 9.30pm on Friday, with DNA testing to be carried out to see if the remains belong to the fraudster.
Caddick’s death was earlier confirmed on Friday after her decomposing foot was found inside a shoe north of the Bournda National Park on February 21, 150km away from where the stomach parts were located.
She vanished from her home in Sydney’s eastern suburbs a day after it was raided by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission on November 11 but expert criminologist Dr Xanthe Mallett said if the decomposing stomach belongs to the woman, it could mean she was alive much longer than suspected.
‘For a stomach to be recovered three months later, after summer months, is a little more unusual. It could suggest the person died more recently. There’s certainly a lot of questions around this,’ Dr Mallett told The Sunday Telegraph.
The discovery of stomach flesh including a belly button is being DNA tested to confirm if they belong to missing conwoman Melissa Caddick (pictured right with her husband Anthony Koletti)
Discovery for the human remains on Friday night comes after the decomposed foot of Melissa Caddick (pictured in the shoe) was found by campers on the NSW south coast on February 21
Pictured: Map shows the distance between where Caddick’s foot was found, where she was last seen and Friday night’s latest discovery of decomposing body parts
Expert criminologist Dr Xanthe Mallett (pictured) said if the decomposing stomach belongs to the woman, it could mean she was alive much longer than suspected
‘Three months is quite a long time, I would be interested to know the decomposition level to determine if the body was in the water immediately after she disappeared.’
Police suspect Caddick took her own life, because she could have reached the Dover Heights clifftops – 300m from her $6.1million home – without being tracked by CCTV cameras.
Dr Mallett admitted it was possible Caddick entered the water at Dover Heights and for her body parts to then wash ashore hundreds of kilometres away on the NSW south coast, although three months is a long time for body parts to remain intact.
She said tidal patterns over the period of Caddick’s disappearance would needed to be checked ‘to see if that time frame and distance can genuinely be explained’.
Dr Mallett, an Associate Professor of criminology at the University of Newcastle, said when she heard Caddick’s foot had been recovered she was not convinced at that stage she was dead because a person could still be alive without the limb attached.
But the discovery of other decomposing body parts has meant the investigation into Caddick’s disappearance has taken another turn.
‘All options have to remain open, including the unlikely chance of a really strange accident, suicide or something more sinister,’ Dr Mallett said.
Caddick’s disappearance sparked wild theories as to her whereabouts but detectives now believe she either committed suicide or met with foul play.
Human remains including what appeared to be stomach flesh and a belly button have washed ashore on a beach 150km away from where missing Caddick’s (pictured) foot was found
Police were called to Mollymook Beach (stock image) on the NSW South Coast about 9.30pm on Friday
Her rotting foot was found by campers inside an ASICS Gel Nimbus shoe 50km north of the Bournda National Park.
The group of three teenage campers were near Tathra on Sunday when one of them found the shoe lying on the sand.
When he turned the shoe upside down as he went to throw it out, he discovered there were human remains inside.
Police later used footage from the raid of Caddick’s home – which had featured vision of her feet – to help identify her as the shoe’s owner.
The 49-year-old was accused of swindling at least $20million from clients, including friends and family, before disappearing on November 12.
Days after she was reported missing, NSW Police used modelling to determine where her body might wash up if she had died in the water near her Dover Heights home.
The modelling deemed it possible that her body could have drifted as far south as Bermagui, about one hour north of Bournda.
New South Wales Police said they believe Caddick (pictured) suicided but have not ruled out foul play
NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Mick Willing said the modelling was done in the wake of Ms Caddick’s disappearance, as crews conducted extensive land, air and sea searches.
In a sworn statement tendered at the Federal Court, and recently made public, ASIC investigator Isabella Allen alleges Caddick hit her with a barrage of questions when authorities raided her $6.2million Dover Heights mansion on November 11.
Caddick allegedly demanded answers on how she was to abide by a court order freezing her assets.
Those questions includes: When would she have to appear in court? Where would she drop off her passports? Did one order mean she couldn’t use her credit cards, because she used them for all transactions?
Caddick also asked how quickly she had to write up a description of her assets and liabilities, and asked: ‘how am I supposed to do that when you have taken my computers?’
The route from Caddick’s $6.1million home on Wallangra Road in Dover Heights (pictured) to nearby clifftops is believed to not have any CCTV cameras facing the road or street
The 49-year-old (pictured left with husband Anthony on the right) has been accused of swindling at least $20million from clients, including friends and family, before disappearing on November 12
ASIC investigator Isabella Allen alleges Caddick hit her with a barrage of questions when authorities raided her $6.2million Dover Heights mansion on November 11 (pictured is bodycam footage of the raid)
The investigator replied: ‘I am unable to answer that question and it may be best that you speak to a lawyer. Do you have a lawyer?’
It is believed ASIC had been investigating her for three months before the raid.
Caddick is survived by her husband Anthony, a 15-year-old son, parents Barbara and Ted Grimley and brother Adam.
Mr and Ms Grimley are said to be ‘furious at ASIC’ for the death of their daughter.
The conwoman used investors funds to prop up a lavish lifestyle, including extravagant overseas trips and designer items.
Her victims were mostly wealthy friends, some of whom invested life savings in Caddick believing they were making returns.
When ASIC and the Australian Federal Police raided the clifftop home, they seized about $1million in couture gowns, designer clothes, handbags, shoes and jewellery.
Caddick (pictured centre) is survived by her husband Anthony (pictured right), a 15-year-old son, parents Barbara and Ted Grimley and brother Adam.
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
Corporate watchdog ASIC said on Wednesday the investigation into Caddick and her company would continue as they try and return funds to investors.
‘ASIC’s priority is to seek the return of funds to investors in the most efficient way possible,’ an ASIC spokesperson said.
If Ms Caddick had been found alive, NSW police would have been able to arrest the high-flying financial fraudster.
Liquidators allege the self-styled financial adviser ‘meticulously and systematically’ deceived those who entrusted millions of investment dollars to her over seven years, then used the money to fund her lavish lifestyle.
‘Melissa’s family were informed of the identification last night and are obviously distressed,’ NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Mick Willing told reporters on Friday.
Campers found a decomposed foot and ASICS shoe washed up on Bournda Beach (pictured) on the NSW far south coast near Tathra
‘Police have always kept an open mind in relation to what the circumstances were for her disappearance, including the fact that Melissa may have taken her own life.’
One of the investor victims ripped off by Ms Caddick reacted with shock when told by 2GB breakfast host Ben Fordham.
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 the radio program.
‘Besides the news we’re unlikely to see any return of that, it’s pretty devastating.’
‘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.’