UPDATE 9.31 (AEDT)
Missing businesswoman Melissa Caddick is dead, police have confirmed, after her foot washed up on a beach more than 400 kilometres from where she was last seen in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.
The 49-year-old did not take her mobile phone, wallet or keys when she left her Dover Heights home to go for a run, just before sunrise on November 12.
Ms Caddick had not been seen since, and police on Friday confirmed campers found her “badly decomposed foot” inside a shoe at Hobart Beach in the Bournda National Park, near Tathra, on Sunday.
DNA from the foot was matched to samples taken from Ms Caddick’s toothbrush and family.
Bournda Beach is about 430 kilometres south of the cliff-top home where Ms Caddick was last seen.
“That foot and the shoe matched the size and description of a shoe that Melissa Caddick was seen wearing during the execution of the ASIC search warrant,” NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Mick Willing said on Friday.
“DNA from the foot was last night match to a DNA sample from Melissa Caddick’s toothbrush and from family members.”
Last month, NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said authorities were “treating the case as if she’s alive”.
“We’re still actively looking for CCTV, downloading information from her car’s computers and again doorknocking … to try and identify where she may be,” he said.
Police said modelling of drifts and waves showed it was possible that Ms Caddick entered the water from Dover Heights before her body was carried south.
However, police stressed it was still early days of the investigation.
“We just don’t know at the moment,” Assistant Commissioner Willing said.
“At this point we can’t rule out anything. We’ve kept an open mind all along.
“However, given the circumstances of her disappearance, the fact she left personal belongings behind, we have always considered the possibility that she may have taken her own life.”
Assistant Commissioner Willing said her family had been informed on Thursday night and were “very distressed” by the news.
He said police would continue to conduct searches around the area where the foot was found in order to try and locate Ms Caddick’s remains.
Prior to her disappearance, her eastern suburbs home was raided by investigators from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
ASIC alleged she was misappropriating investor funds through her financial services company, Maliver, and operating without a licence.
The Federal Court this week heard forensic reports of Ms Caddick’s company run into “hundreds” of pages and investors were in the process of trying to recoup millions of dollars they gave to her.
The corporate watchdog previously said in court Ms Caddick’s investors handed over $13.1 million and named more than 60 clients in documents.
However, a law firm acting for some of the investors believed the true total may be $20 million or higher.
The reports were given to ASIC and the Federal Court, but a suppression order prevents their findings from being reported on.
It was also revealed this week that just $5600 remained in her bank account.
Her husband, Anthony Koletti, was granted access to limited funds for living expenses and to support Ms Caddick’s son.
However, that arrangement ceased after a court order was made.
Assistant Commissioner Willing said the investigation into her misappropriation of funds would continue.
He described it as one of the most high profile missing person’s cases he had seen in 30 years.
A report will be prepared for the coroner.
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