News, Culture & Society

Police narrow down how missing conwoman Melissa Caddick met her grisly end 

Missing conwoman Melissa Caddick may have been alive for months after suddenly vanishing from her $6.1million mansion. 

The 49-year-old millionaire was declared dead by police on Saturday after DNA testing revealed that her severed foot, wedged inside a sneaker, drifted ashore on Bournda Beach on the NSW south coast.

Then a large piece of torso flesh which included a belly button was found in the sand 150km away at Mollymook Beach on the same day, and two bones washed up on Turra Beach on Sunday.

Remains resembling human intestines were also found 200km north at Cunjurong Point.

Forensic testing is underway to determine whether the latest body parts belong to Caddick, but detectives believe the remains are too fresh to have been in the water since November 12 when she went missing.

Pictured: Melissa Caddick and herhusband Anthony Koletti before she went missing on November 12

Two bones were found on a beach near where missing conwoman Melissa Caddick's decomposing foot was uncovered last week

Two bones were found on a beach near where missing conwoman Melissa Caddick’s decomposing foot was uncovered last week

This would quash the theory that the mother-of-one took her own life immediately after vanishing from her home in Dover Heights in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

Her disappearance was just days after police raided her home in an investigation that found she swindled at least $20million from clients, including friends and family.

Ms Caddick was believed to still be alive until the decomposing foot was found, and though she is confirmed dead, when she died is still to be determined.

Superintendent Joe McNulty, commander of NSW Marine Command, said the condition of her body made it appear she was on the run for weeks before her death.

‘Something in the water for that long, say a bit of flotsam or jetsam that washes on to the shore, has got green growth on it,’ he told the Daily Telegraph.

‘At first examination the shoe doesn’t appear to have been in the water for three months. The shoe needs extensive analysis to see how long it was in the water. It’s a vital clue where hopefully marine biology can provide some answers.’ 

Mr McNulty, who has been working in marine recovery for 30 years, said he has never heard of a case where a body that entered the water in Sydney could float hundreds of kilometers down the south coast.

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

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

A walker made the grisly discovery on Saturday afternoon at Tura Beach on the NSW south coast, a day after police confirmed Caddick's death after her foot was found inside a shoe at nearby Bournda Beach

A walker made the grisly discovery on Saturday afternoon at Tura Beach on the NSW south coast, a day after police confirmed Caddick’s death after her foot was found inside a shoe at nearby Bournda Beach

Discovery of 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

Discovery of 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

Experts have started mapping the tidal patterns to determine whether is was possible that Caddick entered the ocean around her clifftop home, but police scoured the area following her disappearance and did not see a body.

Search teams would likely have spotted clothing in the ocean or buoyant jewellery.

But Mr McNulty explained that dead bodies will float for a few days in the water, before the lungs, stomach and intestines fill with heavy salt water and sink for two or three days.

The bloated corpse then resurfaces in a state of decomposition, meaning it was very likely police would have seen Caddick’s inflated corpse in the ocean during intensive search operations.

Though it is possible for a body to get caught in the East Australian Current and float along for 100km in a single day, investigators with decades of experience say it is unheard of.

Pictured: Police and locals at the site of grizzly human remains on a south coast beach

Pictured: Police and locals at the site of grizzly human remains on a south coast beach

The bones are now being tested to determine if they are human remains or if they belong to an animal

The bones are now being tested to determine if they are human remains or if they belong to an animal

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

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 

‘That’s never happened in my time in the water police,’ Mr McNulty said.

Investigators believe the likelihood of some or all remains, aside from the foot, belong to a Canberra man who went swimming just north of Bateman’s Bay with his family.

The 39-year-old disappeared on January 25 with goggles, a snorkel and flippers at about 3pm, and was never seen again.   

Police over the weekend expanded their search to a third beach, with officers sent to Cunjarong point – about 30km north of Mollymook where the stomach was found.

Expert criminologist Dr Xanthe Mallett said if the decomposing stomach belongs to Caddick, it could mean she was alive much longer than suspected and prove she was murdered and did not commit suicide.        

‘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.

Experts previously thought Melissa Caddick (pictured with her husband Anthony Koletti) suicided

Experts previously thought Melissa Caddick (pictured with her husband Anthony Koletti) suicided

The discovery of stomach flesh including a belly button on Friday is being DNA tested to confirm if they belong to missing conwoman Melissa Caddick (pictured right with her husband Anthony Koletti)

The discovery of stomach flesh including a belly button on Friday is being DNA tested to confirm if they belong to missing conwoman Melissa Caddick (pictured right with her husband Anthony Koletti)

‘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 initially suspected Caddick took her own life, because she could have reached the Dover Heights clifftops – 300m from her home – without being tracked by CCTV cameras. 

Dr Mallett also 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 also 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. 

The rotting limb 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.  

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 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

Police were called to Mollymook Beach (stock image) on the NSW South Coast about 9.30pm on Friday

Police were called to Mollymook Beach (stock image) on the NSW South Coast about 9.30pm on Friday

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.  

Days after she was reported missing on November 13, 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.

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. 

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)

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) 

Caddick (pictured centre) is survived by her husband Anthony (pictured right), a 15-year-old son, parents Barbara and Ted Grimley and brother Adam.

Caddick (pictured centre) is survived by her husband Anthony (pictured right), a 15-year-old son, parents Barbara and Ted Grimley and brother Adam. 

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 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

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

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

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. 

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

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.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk