Her Mysterious Death Remains So After Coroner's Report

Inquest determines that Australia's Melissa Caddick is dead, but can't determine how
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 27, 2023 2:55 PM CDT
After Inquest, Death of Alleged Fraudster Remains a Mystery
Melissa Caddick.   (New South Wales Police)

A coroner has put to rest one aspect of the perplexing case of an alleged fraudster named Melissa Caddick that has captivated people well beyond her homeland of Australia. "The conclusion I have reached is that Melissa Caddick is deceased," writes deputy New South Wales coroner Elizabeth Ryan, reports the BBC. Then comes the caveat that will disappoint those looking for resolution: "I do not consider the evidence enables a positive finding as to how she died, or when and where this happened." Caddick disappeared in 2020 at age 49, right after authorities accused her of faking financial credentials and bilking friends, family, and other clients of $30 million in a Ponzi scheme, per the Guardian. Two years later, one of her feet washed ashore on an Australian beach.

That grisly discovery did not convince people she was actually dead, however, with some speculating that she had severed the foot in a bid to fake her own death, notes CNN. (The bizarre case is the subject of a hit podcast.) However, the coroner is now convinced that Caddick is, in fact, dead. Not that the evidence is clear cut: “Perhaps the most persuasive evidence that Ms Caddick is deceased, is the fact that she has not made any contact with her son,” writes Ryan. “Deeply attached to him as she was, it seems to me most unlikely that she would not have reached out to him in some way, were she still alive.” Ryan speculates that Caddick may have taken her own life ahead of what appeared to be a slam-dunk legal case against her.

The coroner's report also devotes a fair amount of space to a scathing critique of Caddick's husband, Anthony Koletti, notes Australia's ABC News. He changed his story about when he last saw his wife multiple times, and his "lack of candour was one of the reasons why it was not possible to conclude how, when and where Ms Caddick had died," she writes. Ryan adds that she has a "strong suspicion" he knows more about his wife's final days than he has divulged. Koletti has explained his changing narratives by saying he felt pressured by police. Ryan also faults investigators for being too hasty to rule out homicide, which prevented them from conducting timely evidence searches at the couple's home. (More Australia stories.)

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