Investigators looking into the disappearance of Melissa Caddick held vital clues about her whereabouts just days after she vanished.
Ms Caddick’s decomposed foot was discovered on Bournda Beach in Tathra, six hours south of Sydney, on Sunday February 21, and police on Friday confirmed DNA testing proved the remains belonged to the conwoman.
The 49-year-old financial planner 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.
Modelling by NSW Police marine rescue teams, taking tides and drift patterns into account, has explored the possibility that Ms Caddick entered the water in the Dover Heights area around November 12.
Remains of missing Sydney businesswoman Melissa Caddick (pictured) have been found, three months after she disappeared from her Dover Heights mansion
Her decomposed foot was found by campers 400km away from Dover Heights on Bournda Beach in Tathra
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
‘During the course of those searches, our marine area demand provided advice to investigators based on offshore drift modelling that raised the possibility that an object or a body that entered the water around the Dover Heights area could drift as far south as Bermagui,’ he said on Friday.
Despite the evidence, investigators were only able to find Ms Caddick’s partial remains when her foot and ASICS shoe washed up on a remote beach and were discovered by campers.
A police source told The Sunday Telegraph the modelling was completed days after Ms Caddick’s disappearance but they were unable to find her due to a lack of further evidence.
The revelation comes after a NSW court approved an arrest warrant for Ms Caddick last week, The Australian reported.
Corporate watchdog ASIC made the application under the Corporations Act.
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 Caddick (pictured) disappeared without a trace from her Sydney home on November 11
Ms Caddick was last seen at her $7 million Dover Heights home in Sydney’s eastern suburbs on November 11 before vanishing early the next morning.
The foot and shoe matched the size and description of a shoe Ms Caddick was seen wearing during the execution of the ASIC search warrant of a home two days before she disappeared.
‘Melissa’s family were informed of the identification last night and are obviously distressed,’ NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Mick Willing told reporters on Friday.
‘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.’
Police are unsure how long the decomposed foot had been in the water as the search for more remains continues.
‘I can say that exactly how Melissa came to enter the water is still a mystery,’ Assistant Commissioner Willing said.
‘The searches and ongoing investigation and will take all forms that we normally would.’
‘We need to provide as many answers as we can to family and friends.’
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
Campers found a decomposed foot and ASICS shoe washed up on Bournda Beach (pictured) on the NSW far south coast near Tathra
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.’
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.
‘Did she just cut her foot off?’ one asked.
Police bodycam footage from the raid on Melissa Caddick’s home in November was the last confirmed sighting of her before disappearing the next day
Melissa Caddick’s husband Anthony Koletti (pictured left with Melissa) and her family were informed of the confirmation of her remains on Thursday night
Strike force detectives will continue to conduct inquiries – with the assistance of Missing Persons Registry – into the circumstances surrounding Ms Caddick’s death.
This will include further searches around the Bournda Beach area and along the surrounding coastline.
Investigators will also prepare a report for the information of the NSW Coroner.
Gretchen Atkins, the Bondi police station detective who has led the investigation, looked exhausted watching assistant commissioner Willing’s press conference on Friday morning.
Detective Inspector Atkins had personally briefed Melissa’s devastated husband Anthony Koletti and teenage son about the discovery on Thursday night.
Understandably, they were ‘devastated’.
A small group at the top of the NSW Police Force knew the mystery that has gripped Sydney had likely been solved on Sunday evening.
The search will continue for more of Melissa Caddick’s remains. She’s pictured with husband Anthony Koletti
The first sign was the shoe that campers had found, which matched the distinctive size and design of the Israeli ASICS jogger Caddick was wearing on November 11, when she was last seen at home during a raid by the corporate watchdog ASIC.
On Thursday evening, NSW Health Pathology confirmed the remains matched the DNA on Caddick’s toothbrush.
The location of the discovery matched up with sea modelling performed by the NSW Police Force’s marine command.
The modelling suggested if Caddick had plunged from Dover Heights on November 11, her remains could have washed as far as the southern tip of New South Wales.
Caddick’s parents, Ted and Barbara, are said to be ‘furious at ASIC’, the corporate watchdog, for what has happened.
Ms Caddick vanished without a trace with her teenage son reportedly hearing the door ‘click’ about 5.30am on the morning of November 11.
She left her wallet, phone and keys behind and has made zero contact with anyone since.
Melissa Caddick was last seen at her Dover Heights home in Sydney’s eastern suburbs on November 11. She’s pictured with family on a ski trip
The 49-year-old Sydneysider is alleged to have stolen about $25million from investors in a pyramid scheme.
Australian Federal Police raided her home two days before she disappeared as part of an investigation by the corporate regulator ASIC.
ASIC seized a number of luxury items including jewellery and designer clothing from Caddick’s $6.2million Dover Heights home on November 11, the day she was last seen
Earlier in the week, court-appointed liquidators pored over thousands of page of documents and interviewing family members, business associates and investors of the missing businesswoman, as they reconstructed her financial affairs and those of her business, Maliver Pty Ltd, over the past two months.
Investors ‘were working on the basis that they trusted Melissa and that they could trust that she was going to invest their money prudently and diligently,’ provisional liquidator Bruce Gleeson told reporters on Wednesday.
‘Unfortunately that hasn’t happened.’
A foot inside a shoe was found on a beach on the NSW south coast on Sunday, February 21, before DNA testing confirmed it belonged to the alleged conwoman
ASIC says its investigation into Ms Caddick and her company Maliver Pty Ltd, is continuing.
‘ASIC’s priority is to seek the return of funds to investors in the most efficient way possible,’ a spokeswoman said on Friday.
ASIC will continue to work with the receivers and provisional liquidators to prepare for the Federal Court hearing listed on 7 and 8 April. ASIC’s considers the hearing should go ahead as a priority to seek return of funds to investors.
‘We will not be making any further comment at this time.’
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