The severed and mysteriously fractured foot of a conwoman was found on a beach in Australia, but officials say the cause and manner of her death may forever remain a mystery.
Around 5:30 a.m. on Nov. 12, 2020, swindler Melissa Caddick, 49, disappeared, just one day after the Australian Securities and Investments Commision executed search warrants at her home in connection with a suspected Ponzi scheme she was suspected of operating to fleece $23 million from family and friends, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Forensic pathologist Dr. Jennifer Pokorny said as part of an inquest that she could not determine the cause and manner of Caddic's death based on the severed foot.
She noted, “Unfortunately, with such limited remains available for examination, it is not possible to determine the full extent of the injuries Ms. Caddick may have suffered, or whether there may have been a pattern to such injuries.”
Pokorny said the fractures in the foot alone would not have been lethal, but she was unable to conclude “whether this may have been from intentionally jumping, being intentionally pushed, or accidentally falling” from a height or whether the fractures were caused by a direct impact to the foot, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
Much of the case's inquest has focused on the flaws in the initial police investigation and the allegedly erratic behavior of her husband, hairdresser Anthony Koletti, who didn’t report his wife missing for 30 hours.
Sergeant Trent Riley interviewed Koletti on the day he reported his wife missing and said Koletti was “sweating profusely” and was evasive, vague and inconsistent with his answers.
Jason Downing, the counsel assisting the coroner, stated Caddick was under severe financial stress in the months before she disappeared. She reportedly told a friend as they walked along the cliffs near her home, “If I am going to end it, it is going to be here.”
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Officials have varying theories on what might have happened to Caddick, including speculation she may have gone into hiding or had self-harmed due to the stress of the investigation into her frauds.
Detective Sergeant Michael Foscholo told the inquest he believed the conwoman ended her life at the cliffs, which were only a few hundred feet from her home, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
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Foscholo said he didn’t believe Koletti was a “credible witness,” but he also didn’t suspect he had anything to do with his wife’s fraud or presumed death.
During the inquest, Dr. David Griffin, a CSIRO oceanographer, stated it was quite possible for a body to travel from Sydney to Bournda Beach, where the foot was found, in the 100 days after Caddick went missing. It was also possible a shark had regurgitated the foot.
A deputy state coroner said more findings from the inquest would be released on April 27.
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