Did Melissa Caddick stage her own death? Vanished millionaire conwoman's washed-up foot confounds experts

Caddick's Ponzi scheme and extravagant lifestyle cost her victims heavily to the tune of $20-$30 million

Did Melissa Caddick stage her own death? Vanished millionaire conwoman's washed-up foot confounds experts
Melissa Caddick went missing in November 2020 (NSW Police)
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SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA: The coronial inquest investigating the infamous con artist Melissa Caddick's disappearance and presumed demise is growing more complex as experts have been unable to explain how her foot detached from her body. A forensic pathologist was unable to identify whether Caddick's foot fell off because of ocean decomposition or a blunt force injury, according to the inquest, which began on Monday morning. Caddick's limb washed up on a beach on the NSW south coast on February 21, 2021, almost four months after she vanished from her home in Sydney's eastern suburb of Dover Heights.

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All that has been discovered of her is her foot. In the meantime, evidence has shown that Caddick told her close family and friends that she would terminate her life "here," referring to the cliffs near her home. Additionally, a different companion claimed to have been forced to type down a four-letter code that Caddick had directed her to deliver to her brother, Adam, in the event of her disappearance.

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Caddick was assumed deceased, according to Jason Downing SC, counsel assisting Deputy State Coroner Elizabeth Ryan, in his opening statement to the investigation. However, a forensics expert was anticipated to inform the investigation that they could not identify the cause of her leg coming apart from the rest of her body. The revelation shocked investigative journalist Kate McClymont, who has covered Caddick's disappearance for her podcast 'Liar Liar'.

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"Wow, the forensic pathologist was unable to tell how Melissa Caddick's foot became detached from her body and that it may well be that the Coroner returns an open finding into her presumed death," she wrote.


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On Monday morning, Anthony Koletti, Caddick's husband, her parents, Barbara and Ted Grimley, and her brother Adam Grimley came to the NSW Coroners Court in Lidcombe, western Sydney. The two-week inquest will investigate her inexplicable disappearance and the discovery of her foot in a running shoe on Bournda Beach. Amputations are not typically regarded as fatal injuries with proper medical care, but Downing stated that given the probabilities, it was believed that Caddick had passed away.

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On November 11, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and the Australian Federal Police raided her Dover Heights house in Sydney's eastern suburbs. Apart from her spouse Anthony Koletti and their unnamed child, that was Caddick's final confirmed sighting. The following day, according to Koletti, his wife left for a walk and did not return. However, he did not report her missing until nearly 28 hours later.

The suspicious delay will also be examined during the inquest. Caddick's Ponzi scheme, which she used to finance her extravagant lifestyle and excessive spending on pricey jewelry, designer apparel, international holidays, and multimillion-dollar residences, caused her victims, who were primarily family and friends, to lose $20–$30 million. Her clients believed she would spend their life's savings on their behalf, and she fabricated paperwork to give the impression that she did.

Caddick's marriage to Tony Caddick was dissolved in late 2012 following her affair with Koletti, who was her hairdresser. She purportedly told her brother Adam, "If it all gets too much to me you'll find me at The Gap." Another friend said Caddick made her write down a four-letter code she was instructed to give Adam if she went missing. By late 2020, according to her friends, Caddick was under extreme financial pressure and on one occasion walked to the Dover Heights cliffs. "If I'm going to end it, it's going to be here," her friend recalls Caddick telling her. 

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