The father-in-law of alleged conwoman Melissa Caddick believes she could still be alive, saying the discovery of the Sydney woman’s severed foot doesn’t prove her death.
Ms Caddick went missing from her $7 million Dover Heights home to go for a run on November 12, the morning after authorities raided her home over claims she had duped investors out of more than $25 million.
On February 21, her decomposed severed foot was discovered in her Asics trainer after it washed up on Bournda Beach on the NSW south coast.
Despite extensive searches, no more of Ms Caddick’s remains have since been found.
The 49-year-old’s father-in-law, Rodo Koletti, is not convinced she is dead, suggesting she could still be alive and in hiding.
“There are still too many unanswered questions. How much of the foot was in the shoe? How was it severed from the rest of the body?” he told The Daily Telegraph.
“Why did the forensic scientist say that the shoe did not appear to be more deteriorated if it had been in the sea since November? Alive or dead, suicide or murder … who knows? The proof will come out eventually.”
Mr Koletti isn’t the only person who thinks Ms Caddick could still be alive, with an international aquatic forensics expert saying a key detail in her shoe suggests she was alive well after she disappeared.
Earlier this week, Murdoch University expert Dr Paola Magni told The Daily Telegraph that the shoe would have had barnacles and marine growth on it within two weeks of being in the water.
She said if the shoe had been in the water since November when Ms Caddick disappeared then the lack of barnacles was odd.
RELATED: Conwoman’s enormous hidden fortune
“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,” she said.
Last month, Associate Professor of Criminology at the University of Newcastle, Dr Xanthe Mallett, also noted the discovery of Ms Caddick’s foot didn’t mean she was dead, pointing out “you can survive without your foot”.
She told Weekend Today that if more remains were found then it would be confirmation of the alleged conwoman’s death, but with just a foot she “would be sceptical”.
Police Commissioner Mick Fuller entertained the theory that Ms Caddick could still be alive during an interview on 2GB on Monday.
“There’s always a chance she cut her foot off and is still alive, though it’s pretty fanciful,” he said.
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.”
While some believe Ms Caddick could still be alive, other experts have suggested the discovery of her foot could mean foul play was involved.
Leading criminal psychology expert, Tim Watson-Munro, agreed that the decomposition of the shoe would suggest it wasn’t floating 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 told NCA NewsWire.
“A severed foot is a great throw-off. They (police and public) see this and let it go.”
Police have confirmed they haven’t ruled out foul play, but Mr Fuller said there was a “slim chance” of that being the case.
Ms Caddick is accused of misappropriating investor funds through her finance business Maliver Pty Ltd, with the majority of her alleged victims family members and longstanding friends.