Missing fraudster Melissa Caddick found dead after severed foot discovered: coroner


May 25, 2023 | 6:14 pm

It’s the running shoe that ignited countless conspiracy theories.

When a shoe containing skeletal remains washed up on a remote beach three months after her disappearance and was later DNA-matched to missing fraudster Melissa Caddick, some believed she had faked her own death.

However, a coroner has ruled it unlikely she had cut off her own foot to go on the run, saying there was no shred of evidence and she would have required medical attention.

In handing over her corona findings on Thursday morning, Deputy State Coroner Elizabeth Ryan said Ms. Caddick was dead; however, it could not be determined how, when and where she died.

Ms. Caddick’s husband, Anthony Koletti, and son told the inquest they heard the front door of their Dover Heights mansion open and close around 5:30 a.m. on Nov. 12, 2020.

Melissa Caddick was pronounced dead by a coroner.
Andrew Baker

Mrs. Caddick has not been seen since.

Just hours earlier, ASIC and AFP detectives had raided the property over 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 Mrs. Caddick’s last known contact could not be corroborated by other evidence, with Mrs. Ryan noting that there was no CCTV footage of her walking out the door.

It is believed she committed suicide by jumping off the cliffs near her home before the foot washed up on Bournda Beach, on the NSW south coast, on February 21, 2021.

Expert evidence provided during the inquest showed that while it was possible that Ms Caddick entered Sydney waters in November 2020 and washed ashore some 450 km south three months later, it could not be determined with certainty due to the myriad variables involved in calculating its path.

The badly decomposed foot was DNA-matched to Ms Caddick “beyond a reasonable doubt”, the coroner said.

Pathologist Jennifer Pokorny told the inquest that the foot amputation would not in itself constitute a fatal injury.

Caddick’s foot was found in a shoe that washed up on the shore.
NCA NewsWire

Orthopedic surgeon David Lunz told the court it cannot be determined whether fractures in the foot were sustained before or after her death.

“The foot was in very bad shape,” Ms Ryan said in her findings published Thursday.

“This together with the lack of more complete remains made it impossible to discern any pattern in the fractures that might point to their probable cause.”

The foot washed up on Bournda Beach, on the south coast of NSW, on February 21, 2021.
NCA NewsWire/Gary Ramage

The gruesome discovery of the running shoe sparked numerous theories, including that she chopped off her own foot to fake her own death

Dr. Lunz said it was “unlikely” that a person who was not medically trained could amputate their own foot and survive.

“The person would lose a fair amount of blood and would need sterile dressings to tamp down the bleeding,” said Dr. Lunz in his report.

“There would be a very high risk of the person developing an infection in the open stump that, if left untreated, could be fatal.”

After receiving evidence from Dr Lunz through the inquest, the investigators inquired with NSW-based prosthetic specialists whether a woman of the same age as Ms Caddick had requested a prosthetic foot.

“None had,” said Mrs. Ryan.

Mrs. Ryan concluded: “It is highly unlikely that Mrs. Caddick’s foot was separated from her body as a result of an intentional act of cutting it, performed by herself or with the assistance of others.”

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