How missing feet washed up on Canadian beaches is helping solve the Melissa Caddick mystery
The strange phenomenon of dismembered feet sweeping up on Canadian beaches may just help investigators into understanding what happened to missing Sydney businesswoman Melissa Caddick.
The 49-year-old’s severed foot drifted ashore Bournda Beach on the NSW south coast – hundreds of kilometres from her home in the eastern suburbs.
Other remains have now washed up on other south coast beaches – a holiday spot in Mollymook, at Cunjurong Point near Lake Conjola, and Warrain Beach at Culburra.
Forensic testing is currently being done on the remains to figure out whether they are animal or human, and if so, whether they match to Ms Caddick’s DNA.
A senior investigator who spoke to The Daily Telegraph revealed that the condition of the body parts that have been discovered means that she was most likely on the run for weeks before her death.
However, a forensic pathologist has pointed to a bizarre phenomenon in Canada which could possibly point to an alternative theory which is that she met her death in Sydney.
21 disembodied feet so far have washed up along the British Columbian coast since 2007.
A coronial investigation that has been ongoing for over a decade, has ruled out that the feet came from people who were killed either in accidents or by suicide, and the feet detached during the normal decomposition process.
The feet were usually found inside of sneakers, just like Melissa Caddick’s, which the coroner believed was responsible for both keeping the feet buoyant enough to eventually wash ashore.
The shoes also allegedly gave the feet enough protection from decomposition.
Dr Matthew Orde, a forensic pathologist with the University of British Columbia, told the Sydney Morning Herald that a modern running shoe provides protection and buoyancy.
He revealed the decomposing feet were often found “many, many miles” from where they first entered the water.
“One of the theories is that those running shoes, by virtues of the air pockets in them, are quite buoyant,” Dr Orde said.
Police are set on searching waters near Caddick’s home in Dover Heights, follow a senior investigator’s doubts over whether her foot could have floated 400km to where it was discovered.
Superintendent Joe McNulty, Commander of the NSW Marine Command said he has never heard of a case where a body in water could float hundreds of kilometres down the south coast.
“Something in the water for that long, say a bit of flotsam or jetsam that washes on to the shore, has got green growth on it,” he told The Daily Telegraph.
“At first examination the shoe doesn’t appear to have been in the water for three months. The shoe needs extensive analysis to see how long it was in the water. It’s a vital clue where hopefully marine biology can provide some answers.”
Investigators are also exploring the possibility that Ms Caddick is still alive somewhere, without her foot.
Speaking to Weekend Today on Saturday, University of Newcastle Associate Professor of Criminology Dr Xanthe Mallett said that losing a foot doesn’t automatically spell out death.
“When it was just a foot I would caution against the possibility that somebody is deceased. You can survive without your foot,” she said.
Ms Caddick disappeared on November 12 od 2020 after she left her home for what her husband believed was a morning run at 5.30am.
She has been accused of swindling her friends and family out of millions of dollars through her finance business Maliver Pty Ltd.
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