Expert reveals key Caddick shoe detail

An international aquatic forensics expert says a key detail in Melissa Caddick's washed-up shoe suggests she was alive well after she disappeared.

The pristine-looking Asics running shoe containing the foot of the missing 49-year-old was found by surfers at Bournda Beach on the NSW south coast on February 21 - three months after the alleged conwoman vanished in November and 400km south of where she was last seen at her home in Sydney's eastern suburbs.

Murdoch University expert Dr Paola Magni told The Daily Telegraph on Tuesday that the shoe would have had barnacles and marine growth on it within two weeks of being in the water.

"November to now is summer time so the water is pretty warm with a lot of plankton, full of little creatures that are extremely active because of the warm water," Dr Magni told the paper.

"I would have expected something on the shoe … based on my experience. If the shoe had been floating that long I would expect barnacles. But if a shoe was underwater protected perhaps in a plastic bag or submerged in a car there is less chance of barnacles maybe. Barnacles can attach on a shoe in 15 days in my experience."

NSW Police are now assembling a team of forensic experts as they prepare a report for the coroner.

No further remains have been found despite extensive searches, including in the ocean below the Dover Heights cliffs a short walk from her $7 million home.

It comes after the state's top cop on Monday entertained a wild theory on breakfast radio that Ms Caddick is still alive.

"There's always a chance she cut her foot off and is still alive, though it's pretty fanciful," Police Commissioner Mick Fuller told 2GB.

While Mr Fuller said he was "satisfied" Ms Caddick is dead, the case remains wide open.

"We have 68 victims of fraud and we feel sorry for them," he said.

"We're still trying to recover funds and that investigation continues. But we haven't closed this case."

He said detectives were still looking for Ms Caddick's remains and also for the missing millions.

Several leading criminologists have raised the idea that the 49-year-old mother was murdered, and police have confirmed they cannot rule out foul play.

Though Mr Fuller said this was a "slim chance".

 

Several experts have said the condition of the shoe was too good to have been in the water for a long time.
Several experts have said the condition of the shoe was too good to have been in the water for a long time.

 

Bournda Beach on the NSW south coast where the foot was found. Picture: Gary Ramage/NCA NewsWire
Bournda Beach on the NSW south coast where the foot was found. Picture: Gary Ramage/NCA NewsWire

 

Ms Caddick was last seen on the night of November 11, hours after her home was raided by federal police and the corporate watchdog.

Her 15-year-old son told officers he heard the front door close at 5.30am on November 12 after his mother supposedly left for a morning run, but she didn't take any belongings, including her phone.

Her $7 million Dover Heights home is just a short walk to the cliff face.

When asked whether she may have killed herself, Mr Fuller said "that's a real difficult one" given many people take their lives in that area.

"(But it's not often) body parts wash up so far south of Sydney and in such good condition given she went missing on or about November 11," he said.

"Not to say it can't happen. The coroner will make further determinations."

According to the state's top cop, the head of the NSW Police Marine Area Command said he had never seen remains "wash up in this manner".

Many experts argue the condition of the shoe was too good for it to have been in the water for three months - a theory leading criminal psychology expert Tim Watson-Munro is leaning towards.

"The decomposition of the shoe would suggest it hasn't been in the water for three months. While it's not my area of expertise, if that's the case a possible scenario is that she has been murdered recently or murdered and kept on ice for a while," he said.

"A severed foot is a great throw off. They (police and public) see this and let it go.

"Of all the beaches and feet in the world, to find hers … what is the probability of that?"

Ms Caddick is accused of conning her family and friends out of around $25 million through her fraudulent investment business Maliver Pty Ltd.

- with NCA NewsWire

 

Originally published as Expert reveals key Caddick shoe detail



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