Cop in charge of the Melissa Caddick investigation shares his theory about what happened to the missing fraudster – as he’s asked if she ‘died of shame’
- Sydney conwoman Melissa Caddick went missing in Dover Heights in Nov 2020
- An inquest into the renowned fraudster’s disappearance resumed on Monday
- NSW Detective Sergeant Michael Foscholo took over the Caddick investigation
- He revealed at the inquest that he believes Melissa Caddick took her own life
The NSW Police officer-in-charge of the investigation into Melissa Caddick’s disappearance still believes the fraudster took her own life.
The 49-year-old was reported missing by husband Anthony Koletti on November 13, 2020, two days after corporate watchdog ASIC and Australian Federal Police officers raided her Dover Heights home.
Police gathered a mountain of CCTV footage from surrounding homes.
At a ‘milestone meeting’ with senior police figures on February 15, 2021, Detective Sergeant Michael Foscholo asked for more resources to review the footage looking for any sign of Caddick.
Sydney conwoman Melissa Caddick (pictured) vanished on November 12 2020 after ASIC agents and Australian Federal Police officers raided her Dover Heights home
Six days later, Caddick’s decomposing foot washed up in a running shoe on the NSW south coast’s Bournda Beach, some 350 kilometres from her home in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.
Since that grim discovery Australians have been asking each other what they think happened to Caddick.
Det Sgt Foscholo, who took over as the officer-in-charge 10 days into the investigation, was asked just that by Mr Koletti’s counsel Judy Swan during an inquest in Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court on Tuesday.
After a brief laugh at Ms Swan’s initial question – whether he had ever heard of the expression ‘someone died of shame’ – Det Sgt Foscholo gave his opinion.
‘It was clear to me Melissa Caddick’s fraudulent activities were one of the catalysts for her disappearance and ultimately the reason, or motive, as to why she committed suicide,’ he said.
Det Sgt Foscholo said the foot’s discovery led to police searching some ‘specific areas’ on the south coast but CCTV had already been gathered from Dover Heights coastal areas and marinas at Rose Bay.
Only about 20 per cent of the footage had been reviewed by the February 15 meeting.
There was no CCTV footage available for the quickest route from Caddick’s house to the Rodney Reserve Cliffs, where Det Sgt Foscholo believes Caddick jumped.
‘(It’s) the closest location to her home and it’s open ocean there,’ he said.
‘It’s not a bay … once you hit that open ocean, there’s many unknown variables.’
NSW Detective Sergeant Michael Foscholo (pictured) took over the investigation into Melissa Caddick’s disappearance
Detective Sergeant Michael Foscholo believes the fraudster took her own life by jumping off Rodney Reserve Cliffs (pictured)
Eastern Suburbs Police Area Command Detective Inspector Gretchen Atkins said injured or otherwise restricted officers from the area were assigned to reviewing CCTV from around the Dover Heights home where Caddick was last seen and from airports and other departure points.
‘We were quite short staffed at the time,’ Det Insp Atkins told the inquest on Tuesday.
Det Sgt Foscholo, who took over as officer-in-charge as Caddick’s disappearance began attracting widespread attention, wanted more help.
‘With the resources I had at my disposal we were pushing through it,’ he said.
‘Extra resources would have been good.’
His superior, Det Insp Atkins, said she tried to provide them.
‘I gave him what I could at the time,’ she said.
‘It was time consuming and painstaking and he was trying to review it as quickly as possible.’
Caddick’s husband Anthony Koletti (pictured at the inquest on Tuesday) reported her missing two days after her house was raided
Caddick defrauded family and friends of between $20 million-$30 million in a Ponzi scheme before she went missing (pictured with Koletti)
Det Sgt Foscholo told the inquiry his strategy was to immediately ‘saturate’ the area surrounding her home, canvassing for any CCTV that could be useful before it was deleted or overwritten.
But the CCTV was only one part of a complex investigation that was starting to attract widespread attention.
‘It was clear to me that Melissa Caddick was not just going to hand herself into a police station,’ Det Sgt Foscholo said.
Caddick defrauded family and friends of between $20 million-$30 million in a Ponzi scheme before her disappearance.
The inquest will resume in February.
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