Missing fraudster Melissa Caddick dies after severed foot discovered: coroner
It was the running shoe that sparked a myriad of conspiracy theories.
When a shoe with skeletal remains that was later DNA-matched to missing fraudster Melissa Caddick washed up on a secluded beach three months after she disappeared, some speculated she had faked her own dead.
However, a coroner ruled it unlikely she cut her foot to escape, saying there was no evidence and she would have needed medical attention.
Delivering her coroner’s findings on Thursday morning, Deputy State Coroner Elizabeth Ryan said Ms Caddick was dead; however, it has not been possible to determine how, when, or where she died.
Ms Caddick’s husband Anthony Koletti and son told the inquest they heard the front door to their Dover Heights mansion open and close at around 5.30am on November 12, 2020.
Mrs. Caddick has not been seen since.
Hours earlier, ASIC and AFP investigators raided the property in connection with an alleged $23 million Ponzi scheme, seizing luxury items including designer clothes and jewelry.
There is no indication that Mr. Koletti was involved in any wrongdoing.
Reports of Ms Caddick’s last known contact could not be corroborated by other evidence, with Ms Ryan noting there was no CCTV footage of her exiting her door.
It is suspected that she took her own life by jumping from cliffs near her home before the foot washed up on Bournda beach on the south coast of New South Wales on February 21, 2021.
Expert evidence presented at the inquest found that even if it was feasible, Ms Caddick went into the waters off Sydney in November 2020 and her foot washed ashore around 450km south three months later later this could not be determined with certainty due to the myriad variables involved. in the calculation of its trajectory.
The badly decomposed foot matched Ms Caddick’s DNA “beyond a reasonable doubt”, according to the coroner.
Pathologist Jennifer Pokorny told the inquest that amputation of the foot would not in itself be a life-threatening injury.
Orthopedic surgeon David Lunz told the court it was impossible to determine whether the fractures found in his foot were suffered before or after his death.
“The foot was in very poor condition,” Ms Ryan said in her findings released Thursday.
“This, combined with the lack of more complete remains, made it impossible to discern a pattern of the fractures that might point to their probable cause.”
The grisly discovery of the running shoe has sparked countless theories, including that she cut her foot to fake her own death.
Dr Lunz said it was “unlikely” someone without medical training could amputate their foot and survive.
“The person would lose a fair amount of blood and would need sterile bandages to dab the bleeding,” Dr. Lunz said in his report.
“There would be a very high risk of the person developing an infection in the open stump which, if left untreated, could be fatal.”
After evidence from Dr Lunz was received by the inquest, investigators inquired with prosthetic specialists based in New South Wales to find out whether a woman matching Ms Caddick’s age range had applied for a foot prosthesis.
“None had,” Ms. Ryan said.
Ms Ryan concluded: “It is highly unlikely that Ms Caddick’s foot separated from her body as a result of a deliberate act to cut it, carried out by herself or with the help of others. .”